BPA says water supply won’t affect system output



Vancouver — The Bonneville Power Administration said Friday that it is prepared to meet the ongoing power needs of its customers while meeting its non-power obligations to protect fish runs in the Columbia River basin.

The Portland-based regional electricity distribution and marketing agency said it is prepared to manage the system through the remainder of the spring and summer even with the downward trend in water supply forecasts throughout the winter and spring. Clark Public Utilities receives a portion of its electric power from BPA.

“We don’t have as much water as we would like, but we’re well prepared to handle the current situation,” Kieran Connolly, vice president of Generation Asset Management for BPA, said in a news release. “We’ve been through this before — as recently as 2010. We plan extensively every year, so we don’t get caught flat-footed.”

Dry-year operations are implemented when the April-through-August forecast is for total volume runoff at The Dalles Dam is less than 72.2 million acre-feet. (One acre-foot is a volume of water equivalent to 1 acre covered 1 foot deep with water.) The final May forecast released Thursday is 62.4 million acre feet.

The forecast low runoff this year is not due to a lack of precipitation but above-normal temperatures that caused much of the precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow, particularly in the U.S. portions of the Columbia Basin, BPA said.