Site C reservoir could be filled in 2023

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — BC Hydro reveals that the reservoir at Site C could be getting filled as early as 2023. 

The information comes from BC Hydro’s quarterly report for Site C, covering July 2nd through September 30th, 2022, which was released in December 2022. 

The report gave three possible scenarios for the reservoir filling, including one where it is filled in 2023 instead of 2024.

According to the report, the reservoir cannot be filled until meeting 20 regulatory approvals, alongside several other constraints such as weather, control of the Peace River, and construction. 

One of the biggest construction milestones that need to happen before the reservoir can be filled is the conversion, or closure, of the diversion tunnels currently diverting the Peace River away from the project.

The report specifies that both the conversion of the tunnels and the filling of the reservoir need to occur in the summer to early fall timeframe.

The three options for filling the reservoir are to account for necessary requirements and other unforeseen situations to ensure the project is finished on time. 

The first option is to both convert the tunnels and fill the reservoir in the late summer to early fall of 2023. The second option will have the tunnel diversion done in 2023 and the reservoir filled in 2024. The third option, currently scheduled, is to convert the tunnels and fill the reservoir in 2024. 

In the meantime, the dam project is 70 per cent done and on track to be fully completed by November 2025, according to the quarterly report.

According to the financial tables in the report, the Site C project is still within its $16 billion budget that was approved in June 2021. As of September 20th, 2022, the project had a life-to-date actual cost of $9.9 billion, leaving $6.1 billion remaining. 

President and CEO of BC Hydro, Chris O’Riley, said in the report that 2023 was going to be a big year for the Site C project and that they acknowledge there will continue to be risks and challenges. 

“We will continue to manage these risks and challenges with strong oversight from the Site C Project Assurance Board and the input of other independent experts,” O’Riley said. 

The full quarterly report for July 1st through September 20th, 2022, can be read below:

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