Caution on higher Puntledge River flows at Nymph and Stotan Falls areas

May 12, 2017

From Stephen Watson, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor at BC Hydro:

"With a good water flow rate now coming into the Comox Lake reservoir, and the changing weather that will bring increased recreation along the Puntledge River, we are providing a public safety notice of higher than normal river flows down the Puntledge River. From May 15 to May 26, we urge the public to be cautious around the river. Safety awareness signage will be in place.

BC Hydro typically releases about 33 m3/s from Comox dam with about 27 m3/s going down the penstock or pipe down to the generating station when running at full capacity, which we are, and another 6 m3/s is released below the diversion dam for downstream fish habitat flows. As we hit May 15 and through to September, our public safety awareness protocols are to advise the public of flow releases that go above 35 m3/s for most of the river system, and above 10 m3/s below the diversion dam and the Barber’s Hole, Nymph Falls and Stotan Falls areas – the water release here may likely be around 19 m3/s. The total release from the Comox dam may be around 46 m3/s to allow us to control the reservoir and at the same time let it slowly increase to the full level.

On May 27 and 28, BC Hydro will release high water flows for the Puntledge River Paddle Festival and people are to stay away from the entire river system over that weekend. The reservoir level will come down slightly due to the kayak event and then start to slowly rise again so the reservoir is full in June. BC Hydro will provide an update on our operations post-May 28, with those operations being dependent on weather conditions and system water abundance."