Weekend rain allows more water to flow down Puntledge River

Some wet weather has finally arrived and that will allow BC Hydro to release a little more water down the Puntledge River.

Some wet weather has finally arrived and that will allow BC Hydro to release a little more water down the Puntledge River.

BC Hydro reviewed the water inflows into the Comox Lake reservoir. Seeing the modest increase, and considering a few minor storm systems forecast for the rest of this week, will increase the Puntledge River flow Tuesday.

The flow will increase from 11.3 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to about 18 m3/s – a 50-per-cent increase. The river flow will then be within normal ranges for this time of year to benefit fish.

BC Hydro has communicated the river flow increase to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Comox Valley Regional District. This is to co-ordinate fisheries issues like the chum salmon fishery, and the staged domestic water restrictions.

BC Hydro will adjust operations as the weather systems come in, hopefully being able to release about 32 m3/s below the dam and have the Puntledge River Generating Station running at full capacity, but the reservoir is still too low.

The Comox Lake reservoir level was at 132 metres, but levelled off Monday morning from the approximate 25-centimetre increase over the weekend. The 131-metre level is considered critical.

With BC Hydro’s river flow increase and the weather forecast for the rest of this week, the reservoir should continue to hold near the 132-metre range.

• • •

The regional district recently instituted Stage Two water restrictions and the DFO banned fishing in the Puntledge.

— BC Hydro

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