Okanagan Lake is expected to continue rising for at least the next couple weeks. -Image: Warren Henderson/Capital News

Precautions urged for rising Okanagan Lake

Valley residents are asked to make preparations for higher waters until mid June

  • Jun. 4, 2017 4:10 p.m.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre, in consultation with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations recommends that residents prepare for an Okanagan Lake level of 343.5 metres by mid June. Residents should also ensure protective measures include an additional buffer for wave action.

“With the‎ ever decreasing snowpack at higher elevations, the rate of rise on Okanagan Lake is slowing down,” the Ministry said in a statement. “However, the lake level continues to exceed historic highs, and levels could increase more sharply with a significant rain event.

“For that reason and for planning purposes, local governments and private property owners should work to protect their properties to a lake level rise of up to 343.5 metres.”

As of Sunday morning, June 4, the level of Okanagan Lake was 343.23m, one centimetre above Saturday morning’s level (as measured by Environment and Climate Change Canada). Kalamalka Lake rose .2 centimetres to 392.455 metres in the same timeframe.

This new planning level takes into account that 50% of the upper level snowpack has yet to melt.

The Emergency Operations Centre will be using the 343.5m level as a planning number for analyzing flood protection measures, assessing potentially vulnerable areas and making adjustments as needed.

Residents should ensure their flood protection measures can withstand the new predicted Okanagan Lake level, with an additional 60 cm buffer for wave action – up to 344.1 metres.

On Sunday, June 4, an additional 200,000 sandbags were brought into replenish supplies. Sandbags may be in tight supply until Tuesday, June 6 when an additional 500,000 will arrive. The slower day to day rise of the lake provides enough time for additional sandbag supplies to arrive. Residents’ patience is appreciated. Residents in need of sand and sandbags can find locations at www.cordemergency.ca/map.

A pump working on Water Street will need to be shut down for maintenance early Monday morning. Although a backup pump on Queensway Avenue will be working, some ponding may occur on Water Street and motorists should be prepared to take other routes, if needed.

Property owners pumping water from structures should pump into natural areas such as nearby creeks, ditches or lawns and not into storm drains or the sanitary sewer system.

All Evacuation Alerts and Orders remain in place. Visitwww.cordemergency.ca/map to search by address to determine if an area is under alert or order.

Residents and visitors are reminded to stay off flood protection measures. Jumping or walking on gabions or water dams is a public safety concern and could damage or undermine the device causing ruptures and significant water flows.

Residents and visitors should find wake-free options to enjoy Okanagan Lake. Respectful operation of watercraft is urged so that boat wakes do not cause further erosion or flooding of lakeshore properties. Boaters also need to be cautious about wood debris floating under the surface of the lake and submerged infrastructure.

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

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