The confluence of the Quinsam and Campbell rivers is shown on Tuesday. Low runoff on the Campbell River is forecasted to break records going back 60 years, according to BC Hydro. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Conditions ‘very dry’ across Vancouver Island despite rainfall

Low runoff on the Campbell River poised to break records going back 60 years

Conditions remain very dry across Vancouver Island, despite recent rainfall. That could mean record-breaking low runoff on the Campbell River.

Precipitation has been “very low” in the Campbell River watershed since February, said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

And the current water supply forecast for the February to September period shows an expected runoff volume of 64 per cent the normal.

“If this forecast happens it would be the lowest for February to September total runoff in about 60 years of record,” Watson said.

He added that water levels in Upper Campbell and Buttle lakes “will be the second lowest in our record” for the summer period. The lowest level on record was in 2015, when snowpack was almost non-existent.

Weather variations create “bookends” or extremes, but global climate change “is pushing those bookends a little bit out on either side,” he said.

He added that BC Hydro is working with the University of Victoria and others to better understand how climate change will affect the watershed.

Conditions ‘very dry’ Island-wide

An online Drought Levels Map maintained by the B.C. government indicates that all of Vancouver Island is currently considered “very dry” as of July 4.

The province is updating those classifications this week. But it would take one of the rainiest months of July on record for overall drought conditions to change, said Ashlee Jollymore, a hydrologist with the provincial River Forecast Centre, which analyses the province’s snowpack, assesses seasonal water supply and flood risk, and predicts flows in B.C.’s rivers and streams.

“It’s kind of like a big bucket that needs to get filled, and it would have to really rain in order to fill it at this point,” she said.

Story continues below image.

A screenshot from the B.C. Drought Levels Map, updated July 4, indicates very dry conditions across Vancouver Island.

Current conditions on Vancouver Island are similar to those usually seen during later periods of the dry season, Jollymore said.

This follows a winter and spring marked by low precipitation. Conditions are approaching 2015 levels, one of the most extreme drought years on record.

“Even though we’ve had some precipitation over that last few weeks on the Island, we have a relatively large margin to actually continue to make up,” she said.

Rivers including the San Juan River, which empties into the ocean at Port Renfrew, are currently listed as “extremely dry” on a provincial government streamflow map.

That river is significant because the San Juan has no dams or other water management structures that would influence streamflow, Jollymore said.

Current levels on that river are among the lowest five per cent recorded since 1959, when measurements began.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Comox Valley are investigating a break and enter at a store on Denman Island. File photo
Thief steals Denman Island store’s charity jar

Comox Valey RCMP also looking for witnesses to Dove Creek injury

Former 19 Wing Commander Mike Atkins is the new CEO of the Comox Valley Airport. Photo submitted
Comox Valley Airport Commission announces new CEO

Alex Robertson is serving as acting CEO since Fred Bigelow’s departure for medical leave last year

A group gathers for a guided story walk at the Comox Valley Art Gallery plaza. Scott Stanfield photo
Comox Valley arts-based project takes honest look at overdose crisis

The Comox Valley Art Gallery, and AVI Health and Community Services are… Continue reading

The Comox Valley campus of North Island Hospital. File photo
Comox-Strathcona still on track to pay down new hospital debt

Reserves for capital projects should increase over annual debt in 2023-24

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read