BC Hydro - Puntledge River operations update

July 25, 2017

From Stephen Watson, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor at BC Hydro:

"An update on our summer Puntledge River operations and water abundance conditions.

We went through a wet February and March period that put a good amount of snow up in the mountains. This led to a nice snowmelt this spring and early summer with good water inflows into the Puntledge River system. Now near the end of July, water inflows have dropped off considerably, which is typical for this time of year.  Monthly water inflow totals into the reservoir in May were 113%, in June 92%, and so far for July, about 61% of normal. Our water supply forecast for the July to September period is for the run-off volume into the Comox Lake reservoir to be about 83% of normal. Actual inflows will be based on the weather conditions.

The Comox Lake reservoir is currently at 134.9 metres and slowly dropping. The reservoir was full and near the 135.3 metre level in June and into early July. The water discharge below the Comox dam is about 15 m3/s. Water inflows into the reservoir this week are forecast to be around 8 m3/s.  

The generating station is running at about 30% of capacity and will likely  continue to operate at that level through the summer. This is a good water flow rate to keep the Puntledge River fish habitat covered. We also keep the Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls section of the river covered with about 6 m3/s of flow.

Looking ahead for Comox Lake reservoir levels, the reservoir is expected to be around 134.7 meters by the end of July, and around 133.7 m by end of August based on water abundance conditions and historical average water inflow records. Maintaining downstream fish habitat river inflows becomes a concern as the reservoir reaches 131 metres. This summer we look to be in pretty good shape for water abundance."