BC Hydro continues to coordinate flood control operations with their Canadian and American partners in Columbia and Kootenay systems to balance flood control operations between reservoirs and minimize impacts.
The Arrow Lakes Reservoir is currently (July 20) at about 440.41 m (1444.9 ft.), while the Duncan Reservoir is at 576.54 m (1891.5 ft).
Arrow Reservoir is expected to fluctuate between 440.1-440.7 m through the end of July, said a press release from BC Hydro. Kootenay Lake Reservoir is currently at 534 m (1751.6 ft) and is projected to be 533.3 m for July 28.
“Inflows across the Columbia/Kootenay system remain very high for this time of year,” said Jen Walker-Larsen, a spokesperson for BC Hydro. “Tributaries in the central/northern part of the basin showed significant rainfall on the weekend but are now receding.”
In the last 24 hours, Hugh L. Keenleyside Dam is labelled as discharge holding steady with no change expected.
“Columbia River flows are diminishing gradually as Kootenay River flows drop. The forecast says that may increase in the future but likely not beyond peak flows seen to date,” said Walker-Larsen.
The Columbia River flow at Birchbank is currently 209 kcfs (kilo cubic feet per second) and receding gradually from its peak of 215 kcfs.
“BC Hydro expects to maintain the Birchbank flow at no higher than 215 kcfs unless runoff conditions change significantly,” said Walker-Larsen.
Currently, Columbia River flows at Birchbank are the highest flows recorded to date since the construction of the Columbia River Treaty storage dams. This flow, however, is still well below the pre-dam peak level of 374 kcfs in 1961.
In general, for every 10 kcfs increase in Birchbank flow, the Columbia River level increases by roughly one foot. However, water levels in the river above the Kootenay confluence are further influenced by discharges from the Hugh Keenleyside Dam.
BC Hydro warns Lower Columbia River property owners and shoreline recreation users to be mindful of the higher than normal flows and to make safety your top priority. Boaters need to be aware of higher than normal levels of floating debris and remember to stay in the main river channel and reduce your wake.