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October 27, 2017 11:41 pm

Williston Decision Soon

Monday, March 21, 2016 @ 4:00 AM

Mackenzie, B.C.- The District of Mackenzie may soon have a decision on the  approved levels of the Williston reservoir.The issue is a request from BC Hydro  to be allowed more flexibility in the level of the water in the reservoir and to be able to drop the level to 2140 feet above sea level if needed.

According to a BC Hydro presentation, the “Energy content between 2140 and 2147 is 1160 GWh”, that’s about 1/5 of the  power to be generated annually by  Site C when it is completed. (see previous story )

The District of Mackenzie has argued  dropping the  level  to anything below 2147 above sea level,  would have disastrous financial consequences for the District and  local industry impacting  effluent discharge, access to log dumps and barging systems.

The levels  of the reservoir  currently fall under the “Williston Variable Operating Level regulation” which was  set in  August of  2007.  Under that  rule, the reservoir  is  to  be kept  at  a minimum of  2147 feet above sea level.  That is the lowest mark the reservoir has been in  more than  30 years.   Even under that  regulation, the  reservoir can only be dropped to 2147  after giving  six months notice  and approval  from the Comptroller of Water Rights.

Prince George Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris  says he has spoken with  the parties involved and believes a decision  will be released soon.  “What I have proposed is the status quo” says Morris meaning  the  2007  Williston  regulation would stay in place.   “They were in favour of it,  I’ve had several  meetings with the Minister of Energy and Mines , he’s supportive of it,  so now it’s sitting with the Comptroller of water  rights.  So we’ll  see what he says on this.   I’m optimistic  we can maintain the status  quo.”

Morris says the only  way he could see  Williston needing  to be dropped to  a level below  2147  would be if there was a severe drought or catastrophic event  in the lower mainland.  “One thing, we as Government  need to keep in mind” says MLA Morris, “Is that  Mackenzie was built by  government  and it was built to be a forestry town, reliant  on the forest industry.  Williston Lake is a transportation route for logs and other goods that provide that  service  so we have to bear that in mind,  it’s a multi use reservoir.”





There is no way in Heck that ‘Hydro should be allowed to lower the level of the reservoir, that would hamstring Mackenzie industry.
Apparently longstanding commitments and agreements on minimum lake levels are made to be broken.

I’m glad that Mr. Morris is apparently on the case, but admit to not understanding his comment about “catastrophic event in the lower mainland”
and what effect there would or could be on the level of Williston Lake.


If the Liberals are not really careful here, they may actually make a **right** decision. Wouldn’t that be something.

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