BC Hydro is extending its public safety advisory to stay clear of the Campbell River until Wednesday, November 17.
“River flow and water flow around Elk Falls will continue to be high and dangerous,” said spokesman Stephen Watson, who noted temporary safety signage along the falls area. and the river will be updated on Monday November 15th.
At present, the river is flowing at about 110 cubic meters per second in Elk Falls Canyon, and the flow was as high as 130 m.3/ s for a few days when BC Hydro spilled additional water.
Watson said the flow was the highest seen in three years, but was still a little lower than it was in 2016, when it hit 480m.3/ s; more than four times the current rate.
While the river can be dangerous for those who get too close, Watson said it is manageable.
“This allows us to move water from reservoirs for flood risk management, while taking into account salmon habitat, which means movement of gravel through the canyon and downstream of the Campbell River.
“It’s lucky that we were able to stay around that flow, rather than going higher. “
BC Hydro delivers water to the Campbell River system from its Strathcona, Ladore and John Hart dams.
“Upper Campbell Reservoir / Buttle Lake peaked at around 219.9m on Nov. 5,” Watson said. “He’s come down to 219.25m but is currently at 219.45m, and is rising slowly.
“The Upper Campbell Reservoir / Buttle Lake provides approximately 80 percent of the watershed’s water storage. By the end of this week, the reservoir level could be around 219 meters. “
He added that BC Hydro prefers to see the reservoir level below 220.5 meters for flexibility in flood risk management operations.
Precipitation rates in the upper part of the watershed have been well above normal for October and November so far, but the weather forecast looks better for the week ahead.
“This watershed has been on the brink of the last three atmospheric events to hit the coast in the past week, including the major event currently hitting southern Vancouver Island and parts of the Fraser Valley “Watson said.
“Over the past 48 hours, the Campbell River watershed has received approximately 55mm of rain, compared to over 300mm of rain for the Jordan River watershed near Sooke. “