Puntledge River siren test Oct. 23

BC Hydro will be testing the Puntledge River siren warning system on Wednesday, Oct. 23 at about 10 a.m.

Each siren will be tested for only a few minutes to ensure they are working as designed. The sirens will all go off at about the same time. Staff will be posted at each siren location.

“We recently changed out some siren cards, and while we have every reason to believe they are operational, we believe it’s prudent to test them to validate,” a news release states. “We are advising the community that you may hear the sirens tests on that day.

Flood risk management operations is a common reason for needing to spill extra water downstream, but those events are planned and BC Hydro can provide advance public notice and signage. There are other situations where river flows can adjust quickly, and be unplanned either from the powerhouse or from the two dams. Whether planned or unplanned, quick river flow adjustments can be a public safety hazard, so the BC Hydro warning sirens are placed along the river from the Comox Dam to Puntledge Park. The sirens provide real-time flow notice for people to move out of the river channel.

Operations

The February to September water supply forecast was the lowest water supply year in BC Hydro’s 51-year period of record.

The Comox Lake Reservoir is at 132.8 metres. The reservoir generally fluctuates between 131 and 135.3 metres. It is a little lower than normal for this time of year, though in a good position for anticipated fall rains.

“To that, we are monitoring some moderate wet weather forecasted for much of this week. We’re approaching the time of year for flood risk management operations.”

The current discharge from the Comox Dam is about 21 cubic metres per second (m3/s).

“We may increase the river flow next week depending on how these storms track and how much water the reservoir receives from run-off.”

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