The water levels of Nechako river are decreasing say officials after weeks of it being on a flood warning advisory. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

The water levels of Nechako river are decreasing say officials after weeks of it being on a flood warning advisory. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Nechako water levels under control says monitoring agency and Rio Tinto

Nechako River downgraded to a high streamflow advisory

Water levels of the Nechako reservoir are well under control following weeks of the river being at risk of flooding owing to heavy rainfall.

In an update, Rio Tinto, which manages the reservoir, said the high water situation has been resolved through active management of the Nechako reservoir and coupled with reduced precipitation over the last several days.

“The water level of the reservoir is currently at 2799.61 feet and trending downward,” according to Rio Tinto. The latest weather forecast also predicts a minimal precipitation of two millimetres over the next seven days.

”We continue to manage the reservoir in close consultation with the Comptroller of Water Rights, indigenous nations and in accordance with the requirements of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.”

As current projections indicate the reservoir level will continue decreasing in the next few days, there is no foreseeable need for Rio Tinto to activate the temporary authorization to surcharge the reservoir. This authorization will naturally expire on August 14, 2022.

With inflows into the reservoir now lower than outflows, the discharge from the Skins Lake Spillway was decreased on July 22 to approximately 300 cubic metres/second, down from 390.

Rio Tinto said that together with the BC River Forecast Centre, they continue to exchange information and monitor the situation closely.

“By working together we were able to minimize impacts downstream and uphold reservoir safety, said Rio Tinto about its collaboration with indigenous nations, communities, and stakeholders including local and regional governments, as well as the B.C. River Forecast Centre and Comptroller of Water Rights.

With low precipitation forecasted, Nechako River levels are expected to continue to decrease. On July 25, the provincial River Forecast Centre downgraded the river to a high streamflow advisory after weeks of charting a flood warning.

The river monitoring agency said in its statement that flows reached the highest levels of the season last week on the Nechako River. Ongoing warm and dry weather stabilized flows within the Nechako region and rivers are now receding steadily.

Continued dry conditions in the upcoming weather forecast will lead to ongoing lowering of water levels, said the centre. Although rivers are on the downward trend, they remain very high for this time of year and public is still advised to stay clear of fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks.

READ ALSO: District of Vanderhoof, Rio Tinto monitoring water levels of Nechako