The Columbia River will begin creeping up its banks this weekend in a planned release which BC Hydro says will be done slowly and safely.
“Right now we are at 43,000 cubic feet per second and we will be bumping that up to about 65,000 cubic feet per second,” said Jen Walker-Larsen, community relations spokesperson for BC Hydro who was reached by telephone from Revelstoke.
The increase of just over 50 per cent in flow will start at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 29 and increase hour by hour to 65,000 cubic feet per second on Sunday.
“For safety and fisheries reasons we slowly build it up,” said Walker-Larsen. “We send out these notifications because we want to make sure people are aware that if they are planning activities near the river to be mindful.”
The Kootenay River brings in water to the Columbia as well and the projected level below the confluence of the two rivers is predicted to reach 145,000 cubic feet per second, far below last year’s levels.
Wet weather contributed to a peak of 213,000 cubic feet per second in 2012, creating flooding issues.
“Certainly people should not be parking vehicles close [to the river] overnight,” said Walker-Larsen. “Last year we had record flows and we want to make sure they know it’s not like that this year. We don’t want people to be concerned when they see the levels coming up.”