River rise prompts further response

The Greater Trail's emergency operations centre was activated Thursday afternoon to deal with the rising levels of the Columbia River.

The region’s emergency operations centre was activated Thursday afternoon to deal with the rising levels of the Columbia River.

The move was predicated after BC Hydro announced that, due to heavy rainfall events above the Mica Dam, increased amounts of water needed to be released into the Columbia River.

BC Hydro began releasing approximately 215,000 cubic feet per second from the Hugh Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar Thursday afternoon.

This was up from the 204,000 cubic feet per second that BC Hydro had previously been releasing.

A BC Hydro release Thursday anticipated that the flow increase would result in a river level rise of approximately one foot.

The duration for the increased release was expected to be about one week, dependent on weather and rain fall, said Alan Stanley, director of environmental services for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

It was the length of the time the river will remain high that prompted the activation of the centre to coordinate response, Stanley noted in a release.

“The Columbia River is currently at near record high flows causing concerns with infrastructure near the river and the increased release may worsen the situation,” he said.

It is estimated that the increased release will cause the Columbia River to rise by eight to 12 inches in Trail.

BC Hydro predicted, depending on inflows, that Columbia River flows at Birchbank could continue to climb to 225,000 cubic feet per second or higher by Sunday, July 22.

“Although this flow will still be below peak levels experienced before the Columbia River Treaty dams were constructed, these flows would be the highest flow recorded since the construction of the Columbia River Treaty storage dams,” a company advisory said Thursday.

RDKB Fire/Rescue personnel are going door to door in Whispering Pines Trailer Park and 17 Avenue in Genelle advising residents of the situation and the need to move vehicles and equipment to higher ground.

For further information, contact Alan Stanley, RDKB public information officer, at 250-368-1648.