Recorded inflows to the Columbia/Kootenay basin among highest ever

BC Hydro still working hard to maintain river levels around Castlegar and area.

  • Jul. 13, 2012 5:00 p.m.

Currently there are high water conditions in the Columbia basin. The region received record precipitation during June. Castlegar alone received 221 millimetres (mm) of rainfall in June, three times more than its average amount. This year there was also higher than average snowpack. Recent hot weather has increased inflows from snowmelt so Columbia basin inflows remain high.

This year recorded inflows in the Columbia/Kootenay basin are amongst the highest on record. Without the operation of upstream Treaty dams, the peak flow in the Columbia River in Castlegar and Trail would have been approximately double the current flow and very near the historic maximum flows seen in the major pre-dam flood years of 1948 and 1961.

BC Hydro continues to manage our Columbia River facilities to provide flood control for both countries under theterms of the Columbia River Treaty. We are also using our operating flexibility between our facilities and reservoirs as well as the new long-term Non-Treaty Storage Agreement to minimize impacts across our system within Canada.

We continue to closely monitor the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level and Columbia River flows. There is no risk to public safety as the Hugh L. Keenleyside dam was designed for a maximum Arrow Lakes Reservoir level above 440.74 meters (1,446 feet).

However a number of precautionary procedures and protocols are in place to manage the current conditions, including 24-hour surveillance of the Hugh L. Keenleyside dam and regular monitoring downstream of the facility after every flow change to help monitor downstream impacts. The facility will continue to be lit at night, and additional lighting will be in place to ensure the safety of our employees as they conduct ongoing inspections.

BC Hydro is working closely with local agencies and municipalities to assist efforts to protect properties and municipal infrastructure from potential impacts that may result from increased flows. In Genelle, BC Hydro is constructing a berm along the roadway by the river to maintain continued road access for local residents.

BC Hydro has increased contractor resources and debris funding to manage the significant volume of floating wood debris on Arrow Lakes Reservoir that have resulted from water levels above normal full pool. The additional debris funding and increased contractor resources will begin as soon as possible to address safetyconcerns in priority areas.

Information regarding current reservoir levels and discharges is available online at (search for ‘hydromet data’) or by calling 1-877-924-2444.Information regarding current reservoir levels and discharges isavailable online at (search for ‘hydromet data’) or by calling 1-877-924-2444.


BC Hydro press release