After more than five weeks of high water flow conditions within the Puntledge River, Thursday morning (Nov. 18) the water discharge from the Comox Dam will be reduced to seasonally normal levels.
According to BC Hydro, the water inflows from the many storms throughout the last five weeks have been significant but manageable. The larger storms were spread out to allow the Comox Lake Reservoir to absorb most of the inflows during the storms and then pass the excess water downstream and lower the reservoir level over a period of days before the next storm.
The area was also fortunate to avoid a number of large atmospheric river systems that hit the coast further south.
The water discharge from the Comox Dam will be about 30 m3/s Thursday morning and last into next week. Flows from the dam were as high as about 175 m3/s during flood risk management operations.
All temporary safety signage along the river will be removed with the exception of the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls section of the river. Flow along this area will remain higher than normal as the penstock and powerhouse remain out of service, so flows remain redirected.
The internal steel penstock recoating work, to protect the penstock from corrosion, has been completed. However, BC Hydro noted there is a small section of the penstock where the soil below it has become soft and unstable. This is likely due to water saturation.
They are working to develop some geotechnical improvements to stabilize the area so they can then water up the penstock and pass water to the powerhouse.
BC Hydro anticipates the powerhouse being back in service by around Dec. 1, although they are providing a safety notice to please stay away from the Puntledge River along the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls section of the river through Dec. 15.
Should the geotechnical work be successful the temporary safety signs will be removed earlier.
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