The Puntledge River Powerhouse in Comox Valley. The 24 megwatt facility is currently running at 10 megawatts. (File contributed/ Stephen Watson)

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

An exceptionally dry November means that water levels are low in the hydro electric watersheds on Vancouver Island.

The four reservoirs on the Island, located in Jordan River, Ash River, Puntledge River and Campbell River provide a third of Vancouver Island’s power supply.

Jordan River is a small reservoir, explained BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson, so it’s mostly used as a standby in case of power outages or for peak hours. The other reservoirs are basic loads which run 24/7. All of them are running low.

“The upper watersheds at Jordan River, Ash River and Puntledge River all set records for the lowest amounts, about a third of normal levels, so that’s quite a change,” said Stephen Watson, BC Hydro spokesperson. “The Campbell River one is at its sixth lowest.”

The water shortage is due to a record-low of rainfall in the area. Environment Canada reported that November was one of the driest that Greater Victoria has seen in decades, with the lowest rainfall since 1993.

“We also had 14 straight days with no rain at the Victoria Airport, which we’ve never seen,” Environment Canada Meterologist Armel Castellan told Black Press Media. “Before that the record had been 12 days.”

READ MORE: Greater Victoria sees lowest rainfall numbers for November in decades

This means the outputs at the watersheds are low; Puntledge River, which usually runs at 24 mega watts, is now running at 10 mega watts, at a time when more electricity is used than ever.

“It can almost double in terms of electric demand from summer to winter, primarily because a lot of Vancouver Island doesn’t have gas,” Watson said. “Lights are on longer, heat is on and Christmas plays into it. It’s quite the difference, but at the same time our system is designed for those variances.”

Despite the local shortfall, Islanders won’t have to worry about running out of electricity; a majority of power comes from the mainland from stations such as Peace River.

ALSO READ: B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

“It’s a pretty robust system, and that’s how we manage through times like this,” Watson said, adding that sooner or later the rain will come. “It’s Vancouver Island, and you get those large storm events. The Island reservoirs are small and fairly susceptible to fairly rapid change.”

Enviornment Canada reports that rain is expected across the Island over the next week.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New BC Cannabis store opens up shop in Parksville

Outlet at Wembley Mall open seven days per week

‘We could see fire all over the landscape’: Parksville man recounts helping crews in Australia

Kevin Cochrane of the Coastal Fire Centre spent 38 days Down Under

Remote surveillance helps RCMP nab suspect following Parksville break-in

Stolen items returned after business owner takes quick action

PQB News editor battles cancer through pioneering treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

Port Alberni man arrested after police seize suspected illicit drugs in Nanoose Bay

Car stopped, impounded after driver clocked travelling at more than twice the posted speed limit

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

B.C. still struggling to control non-resident medical care fraud

Unpaid bills, out-of-province claimants a costly legacy of MSP

Most Read