It’s big, yellow and green and saves homes from flooding.
The bladder dam (Aqua Dam) a water filled coffer dam system, sits along Bellevue Creek in Kelowna just in case the creek overflows.
President of Barricade Environmental Inc. Dean Sininger said the dam has many benefits, including “it eliminates the need for sandbags, and they’re very quick to set up.”
Sininger got a call last Wednesday evening from the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations centre and the dam was set up the next morning, stretching 330 metres along the creek after 10 hours of installation.
He doesn’t know how long the dam will be in place, but it is currently the only one requested by the emergency centre from Barricade Environmental Inc. in Kelowna. Another aqua dam sits on standby in Lumby.
The barrier is part of an estimated eight kilometres of bladder dam made available by the province for the Central Okanagan.
The structure is versatile as it doesn’t need flat ground and is capable of holding back 27 inches of water. The structure fills with water and prevents creek water from getting past it.
Sininger said the dam is the equivalent of 40,000 sandbags and doesn’t have the same environmental impact as sandbags because the sand has to be disposed of afterward.
The dam was filled with creek water that is put back into the creek.
“The nice thing about it is when we’re done we’ll just pump all the water back into the creek,” he said.
The risk of flooding in the Okanagan remains as lake levels rise.