North Vancouver hydrology

2006-09-19

in Canada, Daily updates, The environment, The outdoors

In the last few days, I have twice been up to the Capilano Reservoir. Located behind Cleveland Dam, it provides much of the drinking water for this part of the city, though it does not generate electricity. I don’t think I have ever seen it at low as it is now. At the top of the dam is a kind of huge rolling blockade that can be raised or lowered to adjust the water level in the dam across a particular range. At present, it is all the way down and there is no water flowing over it. Likewise, there is a larger section of the lake bed exposed than I have ever seen before.

Since the reservoir is normally fed by snowmelt and glacial runoff, every time there is a warm winter we start having water problems. It is even worse when what little snowpack there is is melted early in the summer by high temperatures. Since the dam is unable to hold more than a set amount, it can be necessary to vent a great deal of that excess flow – flow that would be much appreciated a few months later.

As far as I know, there are no rigorous water use restrictions in place, so the hydro engineers must be confident that this supply will see us out until Vancouver’s most rainy winter season begins. For the sake of water supplies next summer – and friends moving to Whistler to ski – I hope that most of that precipitation comes in a solid form, both above a certain altitude and in the area to the north of the city.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan September 19, 2006 at 7:19 pm

My personal consumption couldn’t possibly have been more than 1000 gallons. I am not to blame.

R.K. September 19, 2006 at 7:00 pm

1) Coffee fiend Milan Ilnyckyj comes to Vancouver
2) Water supplies start running low

Correlation is causation!

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