It’s something of a relief to know that some good came of the miserable month we’ve all endured.
BC Hydro is saying the water supply forecast for the spring and summer period has improved given the soggy weather over the month of April.
“The water supply forecast goes from February to September,” explained BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson. “February and March had low precipitation rates in the upper watershed, at only 58 per cent and 69 per cent respectively.
“However, April was 196 per cent of normal precipitation and the third wettest April in 41 years of record. This significantly increased the snowpack that had been quite flat since January.”
A showery start to the month of May has also helped.
“Our April updated forecast was about 83 per cent of normal inflow volume into the Campbell River system, but with our updated May forecast, it is now 89 per cent of normal. The better news is in the residual forecast for the May to September that’s 95 per cent or near normal conditions given all the snowmelt that has yet to start,” Watson said.
“The snowpack level in the upper watershed is now above normal.”
The water level at Upper Campbell Reservoir/Butte Lake is currently at about 215.25 metres, and slowly drafting given the cooler temperatures and delayed snowmelt. The summer recreation target from mid-June to early September is 217 metres to 220.5 metres.
BC Hydro forecasts the reservoir level to be near the lower range of that band in June,but it will depend on how quickly the snow melts, and rainfall amounts during the rest of the spring, on how high the reservoir level may reach. Later on in the summer, there’s a potential of reaching above 218 metre level in July.
The Lower Campbell Reservoir/McIvor Lake is currently at about 177.15 metres. The target for this reservoir’s summer recreation level is 176.5 metres to 177.5 metres, and BC Hydro forecasts this reservoir to be within the summer recreation target.
“With the improved water supply forecast, we increased the Campbell River flow rate below the John Hart hydroelectric facilities from about 80 cubic metres per second (m3/s) to about 100 m3/s on April 30,” Watson said. “Which is the fisheries flow target for the salmon out-migration.
“We will likely slowly drop river flows moving forward to ultimately around 40 m3/s in July, where that flow rate will likely hold through the summer.”