The confluence of the Quinsam and Campbell rivers is shown on Tuesday. Low runoff on the Campbell River is forecasted to break records going back 60 years, according to BC Hydro. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Conditions ‘very dry’ across Vancouver Island despite rainfall

Low runoff on the Campbell River poised to break records going back 60 years

Conditions remain very dry across Vancouver Island, despite recent rainfall. That could mean record-breaking low runoff on the Campbell River.

Precipitation has been “very low” in the Campbell River watershed since February, said BC Hydro spokesperson Stephen Watson.

And the current water supply forecast for the February to September period shows an expected runoff volume of 64 per cent the normal.

“If this forecast happens it would be the lowest for February to September total runoff in about 60 years of record,” Watson said.

He added that water levels in Upper Campbell and Buttle lakes “will be the second lowest in our record” for the summer period. The lowest level on record was in 2015, when snowpack was almost non-existent.

Weather variations create “bookends” or extremes, but global climate change “is pushing those bookends a little bit out on either side,” he said.

He added that BC Hydro is working with the University of Victoria and others to better understand how climate change will affect the watershed.

Conditions ‘very dry’ Island-wide

An online Drought Levels Map maintained by the B.C. government indicates that all of Vancouver Island is currently considered “very dry” as of July 4.

The province is updating those classifications this week. But it would take one of the rainiest months of July on record for overall drought conditions to change, said Ashlee Jollymore, a hydrologist with the provincial River Forecast Centre, which analyses the province’s snowpack, assesses seasonal water supply and flood risk, and predicts flows in B.C.’s rivers and streams.

“It’s kind of like a big bucket that needs to get filled, and it would have to really rain in order to fill it at this point,” she said.

Story continues below image.

A screenshot from the B.C. Drought Levels Map, updated July 4, indicates very dry conditions across Vancouver Island.

Current conditions on Vancouver Island are similar to those usually seen during later periods of the dry season, Jollymore said.

This follows a winter and spring marked by low precipitation. Conditions are approaching 2015 levels, one of the most extreme drought years on record.

“Even though we’ve had some precipitation over that last few weeks on the Island, we have a relatively large margin to actually continue to make up,” she said.

Rivers including the San Juan River, which empties into the ocean at Port Renfrew, are currently listed as “extremely dry” on a provincial government streamflow map.

That river is significant because the San Juan has no dams or other water management structures that would influence streamflow, Jollymore said.

Current levels on that river are among the lowest five per cent recorded since 1959, when measurements began.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Bantam Eagles ice Clippers, clinch Tier 2 league banner

“We will enjoy the moment for now, but… it’s back to work on Tuesday”

Upgrades to Port Hardy arena hinge on grant funding

The district is waiting on grant approval from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure program.

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: North Island beauty

“don’t forget to look up and observe the beauty of the whole North Island”

LETTER: Miles put on the car causes North Island driver to reflect

“Up here in Port McNeill we are so blessed with nature’s tranquillity all around us”

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

University of Victoria tells stories of Holocaust survivors with graphic novels

International storytelling initiative launched first meetings this winter

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Most Read