HIGH WATER One year ago, Eneas Creek in Summerland had flooded its banks and had left a Summerland orchard underwater. This year, the snow pack has been much lower and flooding is not expected. (Black Press file photo)

Summerland reservoirs expected to fill, despite low snow levels

Snow measurements at two Summerland sites have been significantly lower than normal

Summerland’s snow pack measurements this year have been much lower than in the past, but the municipality’s reservoirs are still expected to fill.

Devon van der Meulen, Summerland’s director of utilities, said the reservoirs will still have plenty of water, despite the low snow pack.

“We’re expecting all the reservoirs will fill,” he said.

At some of the reservoirs, the outlets have been closed, but at others, including Garnet Lake, the outflow has been opened since the reservoir has already filled.

READ MORE: Summerland snow pack levels well below normal

READ MORE: Snow pack measurements remain lower than normal

The latest measurements, taken on April 1, showed the snow pack at the Summerland Reservoir was at 64 per cent of the historical average, while at Isintok Lake, the snow pack was at 45 per cent of the historical average.

Earlier measurements have also showed levels well below normal at both sites.

“This is the ninth lowest we have seen in the 55 years we have kept records,” van der Meulen said of the snow pack measurements recorded at Summerland Reservoir.

At Isintok Lake, this year has been the third lowest snow pack on record, but van der Meulen said the reservoir is still expected to fill.

“Isintok has never had an issue filling,” he said.

Conditions at the two snow measurement sites can vary since Isintok Lake is at a much higher elevation than Summerland Reservoir.

READ MORE: Facing the Okanagan’s future flooding issues

Because of the lower snow pack levels this year, van der Meulen does not expect to see high water levels in Summerland creeks or flooding at Okanagan Lake.

“We don’t expect flooding, but there’s always the chance of significant rain events,” he said.

In the past, Summerland has had previous years with low snow pack levels in the winter and spring and low water levels during the summer.

In 2003, a year remembered for significant water restrictions because of low water levels, the winter snow pack had been lower than it was this year.

However, van der Meulen said Thirsk Dam was raised after that flood, significantly increasing the total capacity of this lake and of the community’s total water supply.

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