Property owners with docks along Okanagan lakes are hoping to rebuild after flooding damage. —Image credit: Kevin Parnell/Black Press

Flood vigilance urged despite declining OK Lake level

Central Okanagan emergency officials now starting to plan for life after flooding.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre says while lake levels in the Central Okanagan decline slowly, water levels remain at historic highs and vigilance is required.

In its latest update, the EOC says warm seasonal weather over the next week is expected to bring moderate afternoon winds ranging from 20 to 30 kilometres per hour daily. Property owners along the lakeshore should continue to routinely assess and bolster flood protection measures. Residents can visit www.cordemergency.ca/map to find locations of pre-filled sandbags, sandbags and sand.

Okanagan Lake dropped 2.1 centimetres to 343.144 metres above sea level overnight, compared to 343.165 metres yesterday morning. Okanagan Lake remains 66 centimetres above full pool. Even if the lake begins to decline more rapidly, levels will not return to normal until the end of July.

Kalamalka Lake dropped 1.3 centimetres to 392.325 metres above sea level.

Sandbag recovery app

In preparation for further recovery efforts, the public can help inventory the number, location and type the sandbags on private and public property in the Central Okanagan by using a new online application from Emergency Management BC (EMBC).

Data gathered will be used for planning and assessment of the demobilization of flood protection measures. A flooding recovery page has been created on www.cordemergency.ca for current information on the removal of sandbags from public and private property, including a hyperlink to the EMBC sandbag app.

Sandbag depots

We appreciate the patience of residents while recovery efforts are coordinated. In the meantime, residents wanting to drop of their own sandbags at their cost can do so at the following depots:

Kelowna

Cook Road Boat Launch outside the Hotel Eldorado – Mission

Burtch Road – Apple Bowl Parking Lot

District of Lake Country

Woodsdale Road – Beasley Park Parking Lot

Sand uses

In most instances, sand used for flood protection in the Central Okanagan can be treated as clean soil and be used as general fill, substitute aggregate in construction applications or blending into gardens. If it is questionable that sandbags have come into contact with bacteria or chemicals and oils, personal usage is discouraged and residents should include in the collection of sandbags.

Under no circumstances should sandbags be emptied on beaches or into any creeks, wetland, beaches or other watercourses as outlined in the Water Sustainability Act. The impact can destroy fish habitat and affect drinking water, infrastructure, flood control, navigation and recreational activities. Report violations to Natural Resource at 1-877-952-7277, (Option 2) toll-free or #7277 on a cellphone.

Sandbag redeployment

Redeployment of sandbags along upland creeks continues in Kelowna (upper area of Mill Creek) and Lake Country (Middle Vernon Creek) today. Crews are removing sandbags from public lands, and when possible from private property, to minimize ecological impact to creeks and streams no longer at risk of flooding.

For municipal information such as boat launch, park and beach closures, and water quality advisories, visit municipal websites.