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How we manage drought conditions

B.C. experienced a record drought in 2023 and dry conditions are expected to persist into 2024. These conditions have impacted people, businesses, communities, and ecosystems across the province, as well as our reservoirs, from which we generate renewable electricity.

We're fortunate that our hydroelectric system is designed and operated to perform safely and reliably across a wide range of conditions and weather events, from heavy rainfall to drought. Our hydroelectric facilities also do more than just generate power, they can help store water to mitigate water scarcity during dry periods. As a result, dams can become essential buffers against extreme water flow by absorbing water during flooding and releasing it during drought.

What we're doing in 2024

We monitor our hydroelectric system 24 hours a day, seven days a week and make adjustments based on current and forecasted conditions. In years with lower-than-average snowpack and water levels, we must take extra steps to manage our system to ensure reliable power for our customers.

We've been planning in real-time to manage this historic drought and following our drought management plans, which includes several steps:

  • Conserving water by generating electricity at facilities located in less impacted regions.
  • Importing more power through our subsidiary Powerex – a common activity during low water years.
  • Working with the provincial and local governments to share important water conservation information with customers.

Adapting to climate change

We're continuing to adapt our operations to evolving conditions brought on by unpredictable weather patterns as a result of climate change. This includes:

  • Continuously working to improve our weather and inflow forecasting. For example, all coastal watersheds can now be forecasted down to the hour, which improves the forecast accuracy for extreme events.
  • Expanding our hydroclimate monitoring technology. This includes custom-made solutions that have been designed in-house, as well as upgrading snow survey stations to automated, real-time snow and climate stations.
  • Investing in capital projects – like spillway gate replacements – that will increase resiliency of our system.

Reservoir-specific information