BC Hydro work at Elk Falls dam creates incredible sight

Action has led to a spectacular flow over Elk Falls which always attracts a lot of public attention

In the face of a worsening weather forecast for Sunday, BC Hydro increased the amount of water released from the John Hart Dam yesterday – making for a spectacular flow over Elk Falls.

“The weather forecast has worsened today for the potential storms hitting the area on Saturday into Monday,” BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson said. “In response, this afternoon (Friday) we will be increasing the water release from the John Hart dam down the Elk Falls Canyon from 110 m3/s to 200 m3/s. We are concerned about the potential heavy rain and snowmelt that may result from these storm systems.”

In a special weather statement for east Vancouver Island, issued today at noon, Environment Canada said a system is moving through the South Coast and has produced 20 to 30 mm of rain over most areas. Rain turned to snow over northern sections of East Vancouver Island and north of Squamish where amounts between 5 and 20 cm fell.

Another powerful storm will approach the B.C. coast tonight and Sunday. Rain will intensify from the west overnight and become heavy at times on Sunday and last into Monday. Strong winds will also accompany the storm and snowfall could be locally heavy inland.

Related: BC Hydro increases discharge from Campbell River dam in anticipation of potential rainstorm

The total Campbell River flow rate below the John Hart facilities will go to about 300 m3/s. Meanwhile, the Upper Campbell Reservoir/Buttle Lake reservoir level is 218.9 metres.

“Please continue to stay away from Elk Falls and the Campbell River through next week,” Watson says. “The water flows are high and dangerous.”

BC Hydro will adjust operations as needed depending on the actual water flows that come into the watershed.

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