The recent heat wave experienced across the province has triggered a brief but rapid snow melt in the Columbia basin. BC Hydro is taking steps to manage the increased inflows.
BC Hydro has gradually increased discharge flows from Arrow Lakes Reservoir over the last week to maintain upstream Arrow Lakes and Revelstoke reservoir water levels at or below full. These operations have been coordinated to account for Kootenay River flows and manage flows in the lower Columbia River. As the remaining snow pack depletes and with dry and cooler weather forecast over the next week, flows are expected to slowly decline.
BC Hydro will send out another update by email at 3 p.m.
Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam discharge
As of Friday July 5, discharge from Kootenay River is about 82,000 cubic feet per second and expected to hold steady or start declining over the next week. Given current conditions, BC Hydro expects to keep the discharge flow from Hugh L. Keenleyside dam at or below the current discharge of 75,000 cubic feet per second.
Columbia River Birchbank Flows
Columbia River flows south of the Kootenay River confluence at Birchbank, near Trail, are currently at 157,000 cubic feet per second and expected to remain stable or decline over the weekend barring any unforeseen circumstances. Similar levels above 150,000 cubic feet per second have occurred occasionally (about five times) between 1990 and 2011. Last year flows peaked at 213,000 cubic feet per second.
Arrow Lakes Reservoir Level
As of Friday, July 5, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level is close to full pool at 1443.8 feet. If needed, there is a possibility that BC Hydro may briefly store additional water in Arrow Reservoir and temporarily raise the water level up to 1 foot above its normal maximum level of 1,444 feet. However this is unlikely given expected conditions. Last year, Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level peaked at 440.5 metres (1,445.3 feet) on July 22, 2012.
BC Hydro would like to remind residents to be mindful of higher than normal flows when planning activities near the Columbia River. Like all rivers with upstream hydro-electric facilities, river flows can change suddenly. Please make safety your top priority.
Information regarding current reservoir levels and discharges is available online at bchydro.com (search for ‘hydromet data’) or by calling 1-877-924-2444.