British Columbia

Campbell River waterfalls surge with record rains

BC Hydro is encouraging the public to view a spectacular surge of water over the Elk Falls this week — but only from a safe distance.

BC Hydro opens spillway as rain fills Vancouver Island reservoir

Flow at Elk Falls increased to 30 times the base rate as BC Hydro released water to lower the reservoir behind John Hart Dam. (BC Hydro)

BC Hydro is encouraging the public to view a spectacular surge of water over the Elk Falls north of Campbell River this week — but only from a safe distance.

The power utility is releasing water into the Campbell River to manage flood risk.

Record rainfall has filled the reservoir behind the John Hart Dam — and more storms are in the forecast.

"This is actually providing a great viewing opportunity for people to take in Elk Falls," BC Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson said.

"The view should be spectacular."

BC Hydro has ramped up the rate of water releases over the week until today, when the flow over Elk Falls reached 120 cubic metres a second. That compares to the year-round base rate of four cubic metres a second.

"The wet weather isn't looking to let up anytime soon," Watson said.

Storm season typically starts in mid-November, so BC Hydro wants to lower the reservoir level to handle the precipitation that is still to come.

"I certainly encourage people in and around the area to come up and check out Elk Falls, particularly on the weekend, " Watson said.

"We don't spill water too often on the Campbell River system, given the size of the watershed."

The public is urged to view the falls from the Elk Falls Suspension Bridge, and to stay away from the river itself — especially above the falls, where the water flow is dangerous and the banks are slippery.

"The moss is out, and if you slip and fall in, given the v-shaped nature of that canyon, you're not going to get out," Watson said.

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