BC Hydro says snowmelt runoff occurred earlier than normal this year and the snowpack is depleted just about everywhere in the Columbia Basin. Combined with dry weather in April and May this year the inflow forecasts for the entire Columbia Basin (US and Canada combined) continue to drop. The latest runoff forecast is 93% of normal for April through September. This is the second consecutive dry year; last year was the third driest year on record with only 67% of normal runoff.
The forecast was provided during the giant utility’s Operations Update Open House held at the Community Centre last Thursday, June 16.
Hydro said the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level peaked at 1,434 feet on June 10 — about 10 feet below normal full pool, and is now dropping. Summer levels are projected to be about 1,430 feet in August and September. Although lower than average, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level is currently higher than it was all of last year. Last summer the water level was about 1,410 feet from late August through September.
BC Hydro’s summer forecast assumes average rainfall for the rest of the summer season. If it turns out that there is less rainfall than average, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level may be lower than forecast.
BC Hydro expects to continue to operate Revelstoke Reservoir within its usual range and the water level is to be maintained within 5 feet of its normal full pool level throughout the summer.
Kinbasket Reservoir water level is close to a record high for this time of year. The water level is at 2,437 feet, about 29 feet above average for this time of year. BC Hydro forecasts the water level to be close to normal full pool (2,475 feet) throughout the summer.