BC Hydro is warning anglers of potential sudden changes in water flows along the Campbell River near the John Hart Dam in January.
From Jan. 1 to Feb. 15, BC Hydro will begin using flexible “load factor” operations at the John Hart Dam to respond to regional power needs.
This may cause water flows in the Campbell River to fluctuate by as much as 50 per cent in a short period of time, up from 84 m3/s to a maximum of 127 m3/s when at full electricity generation.
Anglers who like to fish for things like steelhead trout downstream of the dam are being warned of the potential water flow surges, and temporary safety signs have been put up in the area.
“We generally look to ramp up the flows in the early morning before daylight, and then ramp down flows in the evening, but there could be variations,” said BC Hydro in a release Friday.
The energy provider says water levels in the Campbell River water system are near normal for this time of year, which is a “nice change” from last fall, when BC Hydro saw “the lowest upper watershed precipitation on record, at 39 per cent of normal, or 364 millimetres.”
It says this year there is 870 millimetres of precipitation, which is about 92 per cent of the seasonal norm of 946 millimetres.
For most of the fall, the John Hart generator has been running at about 70 per cent of maximum capacity, according to BC Hydro. That was increased to about 80 per cent on Thursday.
“With the ongoing drier than normal conditions it’s been almost two years, February 2021, since the John Hart powerhouse was running at full capacity,” said BC Hydro.
Nearby reservoirs are in good shape as of Friday and are at seasonal averages, though nearby snowpacks are “well below normal for this time of year,” according to BC Hydro.