Early snowmelt runoff and snowpack depletion indicate generally lower-than-average water levels are in store for Revelstoke area reservoirs.
Last week, BC Hydro provided an update on the current conditions in the region and what they expect the summer water levels will be at the Kinbasket, Revelstoke and Arrow Lakes reservoirs.
BC Hydro spokesperson Jen Walker-Larsen says the snowpack is now depleted just about everywhere in the Columbia Basin, and the dry weather in April and May is still having an impact.
“The latest runoff forecast is 93 per cent of normal for April through September,” said Walker-Larsen. “This is the second consecutive dry year; last year was the third driest year on record with only 67 per cent of normal runoff.”
At the Arrow Lakes reservoir, water level peaked on June 10 at 1,434 feet, about 10 feet below normal (full), and is now dropping. Summer levels are expected to be about 1,430 feet in August and September.
“Although lower than average, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level is currently higher than it was all of last year,” said Walker-Larsen, adding the water level was about 1,410 feet last summer in August/September.
“BC Hydro’s summer forecast does assume average rainfall for the rest of the summer season. If it turns out that there is less rainfall than average, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir water level may be lower than forecast.”
BC Hydro expects to continue to operate Revelstoke Reservoir within its usual range, and the water level to be maintained within five feet of its normal full pool level throughout the summer.
The Kinabasket reservoir was close to a record high for this time of year, with the water level at 2,347 feet, about 29 feet above average. This reservoir is expected to stay close to its full level throughout the summer.