The drought that has hit the South Coast of B.C. is having an impact on the dam in Mission, according to BC Hydro.
BC Hydro said it is currently seeing the most significant impacts on operations at Puntledge and Campbell River on Vancouver Island, as well as Coquitlam and Ruskin/Stave dam in Mission.
“To help manage water levels on Vancouver Island, BC Hydro reduced Puntledge River flows by one-third last week and on the Lower Mainland reduced flows at Coquitlam by one-third and Ruskin/Stave by one-quarter,” BC Hydro said, in a statement.
BC Hydro released Thursday a new report titled “Casting drought: How climate change is contributing to uncertain weather and how BC Hydro’s generation system is adapting.”
BC Hydro says that its finds while there is adequate water at its larger facilities and it can easily meet the demand for power, inflows into reservoirs at some of its smaller facilities in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island are at near or recording-breaking levels.
“With the extremely hot and dry conditions, BC Hydro has been taking proactive steps at many of our South Coast facilities for months to conserve water to protect the downstream fish habitat,” said Mora Scott, BC Hydro spokesperson, in a statement. “We began holding back water in July and August at some facilities anticipating the dry conditions to help ensure we would have water storage for the later summer and early fall salmon spawning.”
While the dry conditions have had an impact on BC Hydro’s watersheds, several unregulated natural river systems – not related to BC Hydro – have fared worse, with rivers drying up and thousands of fish killed.
Campbell River broke a 53-year-old record for the month of September with the lowest inflows. In the Lower Mainland, inflows since the beginning of September are in the bottom three compared to historical records.
Forecasts are currently showing little rain in the near-term, said BC Hydro; however, historically, precipitation and inflows show up by the end of October. If that does not happen, BC Hydro will continue to closely track weather and inflow forecasts to adapt its operations to protect fish.