‘Flows will be high and dangerous’: BC Hydro issues warning for the Campbell River, Elk Falls Canyon

‘Flows will be high and dangerous’: BC Hydro issues warning for the Campbell River, Elk Falls Canyon
BC Hydro
Elk Falls flowing at 60 m3/s or 15 times the base flow rate.

BC Hydro is warning anglers of dangerously high water flows near Elk Falls Canyon and the Campbell River beginning Tuesday night.

With rain in the forecast and water levels being high in the Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake, BC Hydro plans to release extra water into the Campbell River to mitigate flooding risks.

Beginning Tuesday night until Jan. 3, BC Hydro will be pumping extra water into the Campbell River.

It says that on Christmas Day, the average water inflows into the Campbell River system was 230 m3/s, but the hourly peak inflow early Tuesday morning was over 800 m3/s.

“At that flow rate it could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in about three seconds,” said the energy provider in a release Tuesday.

Full reservoir

BC Hydro says the Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake is also reaching its limits, leading to the planned spillage.

As of Tuesday morning, the reservoir was at 218.7 metres. BC Hydro says ideally it likes to keep the reservoir below 219.5 metres to help mitigate flooding risks.

The reservoir can contain up to 222 metres, “though at that level we are unable to hold back water for flood risk management,” said BC Hydro.

Currently, the waterflow in the Campbell River below the John Hart power generator is 175 m3/s. BC Hydro plans to up that waterflow to 184 m3/s Tuesday night, but hopes to keep the limit below 250 m3/s to minimize ecological risks.

“The public can view the majestic Elk Falls from the safety of the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge and lookout,” said the energy provider Tuesday.

“We will update the community if there are any significant changes with the weather or our operations.”


Adam ChanAdam Chan

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