A mild winter and an even dryer spring has led to some of the lowest water levels on record for the Comox Valley, according to the River Forecast Centre.

BC Hydro is running four of its watersheds, including the Puntledge River, at about 15 per cent of their capacity to try to conserve water.

“It’s really a tenuous situation. We’ve never been in this situation in 52 years,” said BC Hydro spokesman Stephen Watson.

“The actual previous record for [Puntledge River] waterflow is around 10 cubic metres per second. Right now we’re getting around one. It’s just a staggering change and a shift for this time of the year.”

The problem was caused by low snowpacks as well as a record-dry May and June.

The situation is so dire that the Comox Valley Regional District has moved to stage three water restrictions, the earliest it has ever had to impose them.

That means residents cannot use automatic and manual sprinklers, fill pools or hot tubs or use power-washers while the restrictions remain in place.

With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Gord Kurbis