Go to Site Index See "Articles" main page
16th April 2023
Kraig Krause
Multi-skilled Journalist, CTV News Vancouver

HARRISON, B.C. - The small community of Harrison Hot Springs, B.C., has watched its beach grow in recent months.
Water levels in Harrison Lake usually drop during the spring, but this year the shoreline has receded at a rapid rate.

Harrison Lake has fallen victim to a dry fall and winter in parts of B.C., which has seen the Fraser River – to which Harrison Lake is connected – drop to record lows.

Mother nature is a harsh mistress,” said Marvin Rosenau, a BCIT instructor in the fish, wildlife and recreation program.

“This is outside of the normal boundaries that we’ve seen perhaps ever.”

Rosenau says flow data shows the Fraser River has seen water levels drop a metre, resulting in levels not recorded in over 112 years.

The decline comes after the region's rivers and streams were pushed to new highs in 2021 that caused widespread damage — including to wildlife.

Rosenau believes the highs and now lows in water levels could have significant impacts on the salmon population.

“(This has) dewatered a fairly significant number of salmon eggs, so there was probably a fairly substantial amount of mortality that occurred,” said Rosenau.

Environmental impacts aren't the only consequence of low water levels in Harrison Lake. It’s also affecting the local economy.

Due to the lack of water, Tourism Harrison River Valley says some boat operators have been unable to access the boat launch.

“Harrison Eco Tours isn’t able to operate its regular tours, instead shifted to Rainbow Falls tours,” said Stephanie Gallamore, the marketing manager for Tourism Harrison.

“With the river being so low, there's a lot of sandbars created, so some people have been caught in sandbars.”

Recent rainfall has allowed the pier to mostly be underwater, but closer to the shore it remains on sand.

Many local shops told CTV News that their customer base hasn’t yet been impacted, but they are hoping for more precipitation as the tourism season nears.

Rosenau says with snowmelt and spring showers likely to happen over the next few weeks, the waters should rise.

Although he remains concerned that the instability seen in recent years is a direct result of climate change.