Concern about rising water levels increases in Central Okanagan

Regional offcials monitoring the situation in light of recent heavy rains.

Mission Creek—Image credit: Barry Gerding/Black Press

Spring rain showers and seasonal daytime temperatures are starting to fuel rising levels of creeks and streams throughout the Central Okanagan. Adding to the spring freshet is the melting snowpack from low and mid-elevations.

Currently there are no specific areas of concern. But, in recent weeks, low level snowmelt and rainfall have caused a few instances of localized groundwater and flooding that affected isolated areas not usually prone to flooding.

Staff from local governments in the Central Okanagan and the BC Ministry of Environment is monitoring water levels and weather conditions during the annual spring runoff. If needed the BC River Forecast Centre will issue advisories, watches and warnings.

Central Okanagan property owners who’ve had flooding issues in the past should consider protecting their property and reducing the risk of damage from potential flooding.

Those living near creeks, streams and low-lying flood-prone areas and with lakefront properties are responsible for having a plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect their properties from possible flood damage.

Stockpiles of sandbags are available at many local fire halls in the Central Okanagan for residents experiencing a flood on their property.

At this time, property owners are responsible for providing their own sand to fill the bags, says the regional district. Information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road) and the main City of Kelowna fire hall on Enterprise Way as well as through links on the Be Prepared page of the Regional District Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca.

At this time of year area creeks are rising and water is flowing faster and residents should use caution around all local water bodies. Be aware that water levels may rise unexpectedly so people and their pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff. Boaters are also advised to be on the look-out for floating debris carried into area lakes from rising and faster flowing tributaries.

In the event of an emergency and activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (twitter.com/CO Emerg).

Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to subscribe on the website to receive email notifications from the Emergency Program.

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