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Spills planned at WAC Bennett and Peace Canyon dams

BC Hydro is preparing for a short duration spill at both WAC Bennett and Peace Canyon dams due to greater than anticipated inflows to Williston Reservoir.
bennett-dam-spill-2020

BC Hydro says it is preparing for a short spill at both WAC Bennett and Peace Canyon dams due to greater than anticipated inflows to Williston Reservoir.

Spill operations will begin as early as Tuesday afternoon, and estimated to continue to July 6, or as needed, to manage for inflows and weather patterns in the Peace and Williston region, BC Hydro said.

"The increased flows are associated with the recent heatwave and reduced discharge capacity through our powerhouses due to maintenance activities," said spokesman Bob Gammer.

"Warm weather in the forecast for late June and uncertainty about remaining high-elevation mountain snowpack is creating higher than expected reservoir elevations. As the water level rises, spill is required to reduce the rise in reservoir levels."

The magnitude of total discharge, that is water from power generation and spill, is currently expected to be near maximum turbine discharge of 1,982 m³/s, at both WAC Bennett and Peace Canyon, Gammer said.

Recreational users of the Peace River are advised to use caution during this time along the riverbanks due to the fast-flowing water.  Water levels may rise, or decrease, suddenly and without warning.

River discharge downstream of Peace Canyon and the Site C diversion tunnels are not anticipated to be higher than that observed during regular operations, Gammer said.

"The total discharge does not pose an additional safety risk to recreational users, nor does it have the potential for flooding of residents in low-lying areas," said Gammer.

"Public safety is our top priority and our dams and diversion tunnels are designed to safely release water as part of normal operations."

Another update will be provided if the total discharge from the dams is expected to exceed the maximum turbine discharge, Gammer said.