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October 27, 2017 11:57 pm

Mackenzie Rallying to Fight Lower Levels on Williston

Friday, March 4, 2016 @ 4:20 AM

willistonimageMackenzie, B.C.- The effort to keep the Williston Reservoir from being dropped below 2147 feet above sea level is ramping up and the message they want to deliver is simple, “water levels matter.”

As BC Hydro moves forward with a view to have permission to drop the reservoir to 2140 feet above sea level if need be, a special committee has been struck by Mackenzie’s Mayor and Council. The newly formed Williston Reservoir Mackenzie Task Force has two objectives;

  1. To serve as a communication tool to educate and inform the community on the 2007 Peace Water Use Plan which set the minimum level of the reservoir at 2147 feet above sea level. The Committee will also inform the community about the  Mackenzie Industry Feasibility & Design Study underway by BC Hydro.
  2. The committee will also give a voice to the community of Mackenzie and surrounding area, so that the Comptroller of Water Rights may understand the full impacts lower water levels in the Williston Reservoir may have on residents and businesses.

Two online sites have now been activated , with the Williston Water web site in full operation, and a facebook page established as well.

Both sites offer information on the issue from the Mackenzie point of view, and call for residents, businesses and industry to share their views on how the lower water levels will impact their lives and, or, their livelihoods.

Under the current Peace Water Use Plan, BC Hydro could, under certain circumstances, such as a major drought or other such disasters or with permission from the Water Comptroller granted 6 months in advance, operate the reservoir at levels between 2,140 and 2,147.

But BC Hydro says there are number of matters that are beyond its control which create “uncertainty in the ability to meet provincial load demands in the most economic fashion” and that water  between the levels of 2147 ft and  2140 ft “provides additional operational flexibility when planning for these uncertainties”.

The Mayor of Mackenzie , Pat Crook, maintains dropping the level of the reservoir to under 2147, would be disastrous for the community and local industry. He says the community would have to spend millions of dollars to get its effluent discharge line to a river while industry would lose access to log dumps and barges would be out of commission for months at a time.

The Task Force is taking its message to the Province, with a meeting today with MLA Mike Morris,   and will present its case to the Mackenzie and District Chamber of Commerce on March 17th.


Lets go Mackenzie Residents have your voice heard. the change the BC Hydo want to do will have a devastating effect on our lively hood. many companies could end up shutting down if they drop the lake level below 2140. We need to get more involved to try to stop this from happening. Small Town Mackenize needs to stick together on this one!!

For those who don’t know or don’t understand when the pulp mills in Mackenzie were built the water intakes were put at a certain distance from the mills into the lake which at the time took into account lake levels not dropping below a certain point. However now with the dam not requiring such high levels to produce power they can lower the level significantly however that will lower the lake levels to well below where the pipe intakes are and to extend the piping further will cost millions of dollars or forcing the company to perms toy shutter the mill if lake levels get too low and cost outweighs the reward which would literally kill the town

Anything Hydro touches turns brown.

    Both the town and the dam were built at roughly the same time back then it was thought that the dam level would never be lowered beyond a certain point however back in those days people did not give a lot of thought to advances in technology hence when hydro installed newer more effiecient generators that required less water to generate power the unintentional side effect is a lower lake level which nobody could of predicted back in the 60’s

    So to say this is hydro’ fault isn’t totally true technology plays a major role in today’s world however they can control the level of the lake and therefore is the fight it’s not about power generation it’s about saving jobs in the end it will most likely come down to government stepping in to make an executive decision.

Interesting that BC Hydro, and our current government, are presenting a future demand for additional power to justify the construction of the Site C Dam, yet at the same time they want to lower water levels at the W.C.A. Bennett Dam. My understanding is that water (hydro) behind a Dam is power inventory, why lower power inventory at one Dam yet push the need for more water (hydro) to construct a new one?

Nothing makes sense here… no wonder this government exempted Site C from BC Utility Commission review!

I was under the believe the lower water levels would only happen if and when BC Hydro had to make more power. Didn’t see where the water level is being dropped because they don’t need the water for hydro?

Lot of miss information being posted, and I mean a LOT, maybe should find out some facts before putting fingers to keys. The low level problem starts at 2147, etcetera.

All right smarty pants, instead of expecting the technology challenged to Google it and finding lies, misinformation and assumptions,just tell us why this is needed.

keep it simply sweety, ’cause me not smart like u’s.

This shows that site C is not needed. Currently, hydro is piping water out of Williston to be used for fracing. This is extra water now that does not make electricity. It is used to get natural gas. I hope Mackenzie people stick to their guns and stop this.

@ Bent and PMack; even if what you say is true, it still does not makes sense. “BC Hydro says there are number of matters that are beyond its control which create “uncertainty in the ability to meet provincial load demands in the most economic fashion” and that water between the levels of 2147 ft and 2140 ft “provides additional operational flexibility when planning for these uncertainties”.

Uncertainties? They state perhaps being “unable to meet provincial load demands”… WTH??? The W.A.C. Bennett Dam has been operating for over 60 years without any issues about “uncertainties” in meeting load demands. If there is an increase in load demand in the future, is that not what Site C is supposed to be for?

CURRENTLY, there is no increased demand for BC Hydro power, this “FUTURE” increased electricity demand is just speculation, much like us increasing airport runway length to accommodate “future increased” Jumbo Jet cargo traffic, or a Global Logistics Park which exists, NOT TO MEET CURRENT DEMAND (because there is none), but to meet speculative future demand. This government is gambling with BILLIONS of dollars creating hydro infrastructure, and increasing hydro power supply, without any increase in “current” or “future” customers. Increased demand from the LNG Industry? Not when LNG Companies are shelving their LNG projects in BC.

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Supply future electric power to the Alberta Tar Sands? Not when the price of oil is so low with Saudi Arabia saying they can live with $20 dollar a barrel oil now and into the future, their message was quite clear; HIGH COST oil producing countries, like Canada’s Tar Sands, need to GET OUT OF THE MARKET. So where is this imaginary “increased load demand” for our hydroelectricity into the future? I smell a massive amount of BS here!!! As Loki requests, please enlighten us “misinformed” people as to why both the Williston Lake Reservoir could reach all-time lows because of increased load demand, and why Site C is needed… list the absolute guaranteed sources of over-whelming demand for our electricity!!!

I am not a hydrologist, however it seems to me that there is a finite amount of water that can be generated by the Peace River. So we have water held back in Williston Lake for hydro from the WAC Bennett Dam. Then we have water held back for the Peace River Dam and the Gordon Shrum Generating station. So when we move to Site C. We will once again have a large amount of water held back to generate the Site C power.

Soooo. Does this mean that at certain times of the year that there is insufficient water to keep the level of the WAC dam at 2147 Feet, because of the need for water at the other two locations.

I am sure someone will be able to tell us what the real issue it.

The common sense thing to do, would be to forget about Site C and carry on with the present system, and if necessary build one or two natural gas electrical generating plants to produce any future electrical needs.

As to site c,Is BC having to pay for Carbon Sink loss as part of this dam?

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