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Filling the reservoir

One of the last steps in building the Site C dam is to fill the reservoir. Reservoir filling will take about four months, widening the Peace River by an average of two to three times.

Staying safe around the new reservoir

When we begin filling the Site C reservoir in late summer 2024, there will be new hazards on the water. These water hazards will be present during reservoir filling and for at least the first year afterwards as the surrounding land continues to stabilize.

We ask the public to be extremely cautious around the reservoir until it has been determined safe, as we monitor for safety and slope stability.

Boat launches will be closed during reservoir filling and for at least one year after filling, until the reservoir is deemed safe.

Safety hazards

Your safety is our top priority. Please stay off the reservoir and use caution when close to the new shoreline, particularly near steep slopes. These are some of the hazards you'll encounter:

Strong currents: Close to the dam, there will be strong currents as water is drawn into the underwater intakes of the powerhouse. We will post boater warning signs and a debris boom will prevent boaters from getting too close to the dam.

Submerged hazards: As water levels rise, submerged hazards could be dangerous for boaters, such as boulders, riprap, and concrete or steel structures. Once the reservoir reaches its full depth, these objects will be fully submerged. We will provide bathymetric maps (which show depths of landforms below the water), so boaters can navigate the new reservoir once it's safe to access.

Waves: Waves may occur on the reservoir, caused by wind or slope instabilities, as sections of shoreline settle into the reservoir during the filling process.

Floating woody debris: As the water rises, woody debris (logs, saplings, bushes, and plants) will float to the surface. Over time, the debris will float downstream, to be caught and removed by a debris boom.

Unstable shoreline and erosion: During the reservoir filling process, sections of shoreline will settle, erosion will speed up in some areas, and new slides may occur. Please be careful when near the shoreline, look for signs of active erosion and slope movements, and maintain a safe distance from these areas.

Engineers monitoring control module, graphic

Safety monitoring

Throughout the process, BC Hydro's geotechnical engineers are monitoring and assessing the shoreline and slopes, using:

  • Ground inspections of slopes, using instruments and visual surveys
  • Periodic and area-specific aerial inspections
  • Aerial surveys before the start of boating season
  • Satellite monitoring to measure slope displacements in near real time

We will interpret all this data to assess shoreline stability and determine when the reservoir is safe for public use.

How to stay safe

Obey all signage. Stay off the water and away from the reservoir shoreline until it is deemed safe.

Call 911 if you see someone in danger on the reservoir. (Emergency responders will coordinate with BC Hydro, if needed.)

Learn more