The Comox Lake reservoir. File Photo

LETTER – BC Hydro responds to letter questioning reservoir levels

Dear editor,

I would like to respond to a recent letter entitled BC Hydro has an obligation to keep the reservoir full (Sept. 19) to explain the challenges we experienced 2015 and the decisions that were made to balance various water use interests.

2015 was an especially challenging year for BC Hydro in managing water levels in the Comox Lake reservoir and flows in the Puntledge River. There was a record low snowpack, which resulted in little spring freshet at a time when we were already releasing minimum fish habitat flows. That flow release only allows for a small amount of power generation. We conserved water as the dry trend unfolded, and managed to have the reservoir essentially full in April. Each year we aim to have the reservoir full in June.

With late spring and summer water run-off into the reservoir very low, further water conservation was required. This included shutting down the generating station in June and eventually moving to a Puntledge River flow of just 8.5 m3/s, or about half the minimum fish habitat flow of 15.6 m3/s. Thankfully a large rain event in September got us into a better situation that year.

Could a similar situation happen again with a very low snowpack? Yes, and when that occurs, as we do every late spring, BC Hydro will try to have the reservoir full so we can manage through the summer and early fall the best we can with the water provided for fish, domestic water supply, power generation, and recreation. Our main priority during conservation periods is releasing water into the river for fish.

This year we also had some record dry months from February to June but the snowpack, though below normal, was a lot higher than 2015 thanks to the colder winter. Some above-average rains in the July-September period helped to carry us through to the early fall. We update our water supply modelling each year.

Stephen Watson,

BC Hydro

Just Posted

Courtenay widow turns to Town of Comox for commemorative item to honour late husband

After being turned down by City of Courtenay, Laurance Stratton found Comox more receptive

Boomer Jerritt next North Island College Artist Talk speaker

Acclaimed Comox Valley photographer, artist and world traveller Boomer Jerritt is coming… Continue reading

VIDEO: Saanich resident shocked when trespasser licks security camera, rummages through mail

‘I found the situation really bizarre,’ said the Gordon Head resident

School district launches catchment consultation process in the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Schools is commencing an important boundary catchment consultation process beginning… Continue reading

BC Ferries crew member taken to hospital after getting struck by bow doors

Two sailings between Horseshoe Bay and Departure Bay were cancelled

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

ELECTION 2019: Federal leaders hit final 24 hours of campaign

Many leaders remain in B.C. for the final hours of the campaign

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Comox Valley Nature hosting one-day conference to discuss Courtenay’s Urban Forest Plan

Comox Valley Nature (CVN) is opening its annual Fall Vancouver Island Regional… Continue reading

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Most Read