Puntledge River: Flows to Increase for Flood Risk Management

November 10, 2015

BC Hydro has issued the following update on Puntledge River operations:

"It was early April when we last needed to communicate this: we are spilling extra water past the Comox dam and down the Puntledge River for reservoir control and flood risk management. The long dry period has officially ended.

A moderate storm last weekend added more water storage by increasing the lake level by about 70 centimetres. The reservoir is currently about 133.9 metres. The reservoir can fluctuate by about 4.5 m from elevation 131 m to about 135.5 metres, with water free-spilling over the dam at 135.3 metres. We prefer the reservoir to be around 133.5 to 134 metres for this time of year for flood risk management operational flexibility.

BC Hydro is forecasting another moderate storm for Thursday and Friday. There is also the potential for a stronger storm on Monday. There’s lots of variability in the forecast with the storms either just brushing by the area to more direct and higher precipitation rates.

To control the reservoir level and try to keep it within a preferred operating range, we will be proactively spilling water beginning this evening and potentially lasting into next week. The ocean tides are quite high this week so if needed we will provide low discharge rates at high tide and high discharge rates at low tide. If the Browns and Tsolum rivers do not peak that much then the discharges from the dam may be more constant.

The normal water release from the dam for this time of year is about 32 m3/s. The Puntledge River will see river flows up to about 45 m3/s this evening. BC Hydro will be monitoring the forecast and there may be a potential to go up to 110 m3/s should the storms be stronger than forecasted. This flow rate does not include the Browns and Tsolum rivers that will also be adding water flows into the Puntledge.

We ask the public to be cautious along the edges of the Puntledge River beginning tonight and into early next week. Warning signage will be placed along the river system.

BC Hydro may provide an operational update towards the end of this week.

There is no risk for downstream flooding at this time."