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Weir science helps keep DC's water flowing

Recent rainfall and conservation efforts have proven successful, a Dawson Creek official says, as flow at the city's water intake is up nine times above the usual levels. "The Arras Weir is where the river intake is for our water source.


Recent rainfall and conservation efforts have proven successful, a Dawson Creek official says, as flow at the city's water intake is up nine times above the usual levels.

"The Arras Weir is where the river intake is for our water source. There's a weir there that holds back water and raises the level of the river," said Director of Infrastructure and Sustainable Development Kevin Henderson.

"So we've always got that impoundment area to pull water from," Henderson continued. "We've got flow monitoring there, at the weir, that calculates and measures how much the river is flowing in cubic metres per second."

The weir was constructed in 1992, after a serious drought left the river levels so low that the intake pipe was no longer submerged, Henderson said.

"The weir holds water back and creates a pool so we have something to draw from even when flows are low," said Henderson. "It creates that area, so at least our intake is in the water."

With the Kiskatinaw River's discharge increasing at the most recent reading, nine times higher than a week earlier, Henderson said the change was due to both the weather conditions and community conservation efforts.

"We're fortunate with the rain that we had - that's a characteristic of the Kiskatinaw, it reacts rather quickly to whether it's some wet weather or dry weather, so you'll see it fluctuate," said Henderson.

Flow and level measurements are taken at the weir regularly to closely monitor the city's water supply.

"The measurement is just below the weir, which is below where we're taking water," said Henderson. "So, it's a measurement after our intake."

A Stage 1 drought was automatically issued in Dawson Creek as of May. Henderson said the city has been posting reminders through social media and roadside signage about conservation, such as limiting watering lawns to two days per week.

"We were going through a bit of a hot dry spell, seeing usage creep up that we believe was directly related to lawn watering, and things like that go a long way," said Henderson.

With the Kiskatinaw's current level and flow, he said they are in a good spot for this time of year.

"Typically in the last number of years, this time of year the flows have not been that high at the weir," said Henderson. "The water has not been that high, so we're quite happy with where it is right now."

Residents interested in viewing the flow through the Arras Weir can access the live webcam at: weir.dawsoncreek.ca/control/userimage.html.