Although still well below normal, there has been modest snowmelt from warmer than normal temperatures in the Puntledge River and Campbell River systems.
That’s according to BC Hydro in providing an April update to its forecast for water supply and hydroelectric operations.
Hydro says the Vancouver Island snowpack is 55 per cent below normal for this time of year.
Puntledge Paddle Festival cancelled, but water inflows improve in the Puntledge River
BC Hydro says recent rain is helping reservoir levels rise in the Puntledge River system, after a dry March that saw just 10 per cent of normal precipitation recorded.
Hydro says water levels reached a low of 131.4 metres in mid-March and there were discussions with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to lower river flows below normal minimum fish habitat flow to conserve water.
But with snowmelt from warmer temperatures in late March, the reservoir reached 131.8 m and is currently at 132.6 m after some rainfall.
The updated water supply forecast shows 68 per cent of normal and the residual forecast for water inflow is at 82 per cent of normal.
BC Hydro says the annual Puntledge Paddle Festival, scheduled for the end of May, has been cancelled, though.
The corporation says it reached out organizers of the kayak event, which is part of hydro’s water license, to discuss the dry conditions and possibly provide lower kayak flows.
The Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society decided the event could not go on because of land accessibility issues.
BC Hydro says releasing the minimum flow rate of 16 cubic metres-per-second will help conserve as much water as they can through the spring, with the Puntlege River generating station at about 20 per cent capacity.
If water rises, so will the increase in power generation.
Hydro hopes to have the Comox Lake reservoir near full-pool at around 135.3 m3/s by early June, which will help manage the system through the summer.
Campbell River flow rates through June well below targets with low reservoir levels
BC Hydro says in the Campbell River system, the April water supply forecast is 61 per cent of normal, and the residual inflow forecast is 68 per cent of normal.
Hydro says it is working with the DFO and found fish habitat, mainly for fry, would be exposed with discharge levels at 60 cubic-metres-per-second, so levels have not dropped below 69m3/s.
The corporation says the flow rate will likely stay that way until dropping to 60 m3/s and then 30 m3/s in June, which may be held there through September.
According to BC Hydro, the flow rates through June are well below targetted flow because of water abundance.
It says the riverbed is fully covered with an 80 m3/s discharge.
The level forecast in July for the Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake shows a slow increase and peaking at 215.5 metres, lower than the target for summer reservoir recreation of 217 metres to 220.5 m.
The Lower Campbell Reservoir/McIvor Lake is forecast to decrease to 175.4 m, with the summer recreation target between 176.5 m to 177.5 m.
BC Hydro says it will be conserving water as much as possible with current operations planned through the summer.