Water levels expected to drop off significantly

The recent heat wave experienced across the province has ended.  The current cooler and dry conditions are expected to continue with light to moderate showers developing later in the week.  Inflows into the Columbia and Kootenay basins have dropped off significantly with rapid decline in snowmelt and should continue to recede throughout the forecast period. Arrow Lake Reservoir levels are now decreasing, and flows on the Columbia River at Birchbank, near Trail, are expected to remain steady or gradually recede.

BC Hydro will send out another update by email on Wednesday, July 10 by 3 p.m.

Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam discharge

Given current conditions, BC Hydro expects to keep the discharge flow from Hugh L. Keenleyside dam at or below the current discharge of 2,124 cubic metres per second (m3/s) or 75,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). These flows will be revisited on Wednesday, July 10, and future flow adjustments for Treaty purposes will be coordinated with Kootenay River flows to manage the Columbia River flows at Birchbank.

Columbia River Flows at Birchbank

Columbia River flows south of the Kootenay River confluence at Birchbank, near Trail, declined by 113 cubic metres per second (m3/s) or 4,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) over the weekend. As of Monday, July 8, flows on the Columbia River at Birchbank are at 4,332.5 m3/s (153,000 cfs) and are expected to remain steady or recede gradually as Kootenay River discharges recede. Similar levels above 4,247.5 m3/s (150,000 cfs) have occurred occasionally (about five times) between 1990 and 2011. Last year flows peaked at 6031.5 m3/s (213,000 cfs).

Arrow Lakes Reservoir Level

As of Monday, July 8, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level elevation is at 439.6 metres (1,442.4 feet), and is 0.48 metres (1.6 feet) below normal full pool. The reservoir elevation has decreased by 0.2 metres (0.7 feet) over the past 24 hours, and levels are expected to continue to decrease. The Arrow Lakes Reservoir peaked at 440 metres (1,443.8 feet) on July 4, 2013.  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 continue 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.