From Joe Harwood Eugene Water and Electric Board
Eugene Water & & Electric Board Generation personnel on Thursday afternoon began diverting less water into the Walterville Power Canal to increase McKenzie River streams in the bypassed reach of the river to enhance fish migration and water quality.
Under the federal operating license, the Walterville hydroelectric task is enabled to divert as much as 2,577 cubic feet per 2nd (cfs) into the canal throughout typical operations. The license needs EWEB to keep minimum instream circulations of 1,000 cfs in the bypassed reach of the McKenzie at all times.
Nevertheless, in 2018 EWEB made a functional choice to willingly change the circulation entering into the Walterville Canal throughout low circulation years in order to keep 10% more circulation in the river than the canal from June through October. Keeping more circulation in the river than in the canal enhances fish migration and boosts water quality and leisure usage throughout the summertime.
With the unseasonably warm and dry conditions this spring, and with adult salmon currently present in the McKenzie River, personnel decided to keep more water in the river right away. EWEB had actually prepared to start diverting less water to the canal on Might 20 due to the low circulations.
” We chose to put more water in the bypassed reach of the McKenzie River at this time due to the fact that we are hearing anecdotally that adult Spring Chinook are appearing a bit earlier than typical,” stated EWEB Generation Supervisor Lisa Krentz. “This will have a small monetary effect, however with the low river conditions we’re experiencing, we felt it was the best choice.”
On Thursday early morning, the power canal was performing at about 1,700 cfs, and the bypassed reach of the McKenzie was streaming at about 1,200 cfs. By Friday early morning, the bypass reach will be performing at roughly 1,700 cfs and the canal at 1,200 cfs.
This is the 3rd year EWEB has actually willingly reduced diversion into the canal to keep an extra 10% more circulation in the river. This “low-flow” operation will continue through October.
The Walterville powerhouse, found off Camp Creek Roadway northeast of Springfield, can create about 8 megawatts of electrical power, enough to power roughly 4,000 houses or approximately equivalent to about 3% of Eugene’s typical everyday usage of electrical power.