Advertisement

Higher water levels expected in local reservoir and spillways, says City of Kelowna

The McCulloch Lake reservoir. The city said once water moves into spillways, residents will start seeing higher and faster volumes of water moving through the area.
The McCulloch Lake reservoir. The city said once water moves into spillways, residents will start seeing higher and faster volumes of water moving through the area. Province of B.C.

The City of Kelowna says higher water levels can be expected in a local reservoir with temperatures rising and snowmelt occurring.

On Friday, the city said residents around Idabel Lake and the McCulloch Lake reservoir, and their associated spillways, are likely to see higher water levels.

The higher water levels could be seen as early as next week, as the reservoir reaches its maximum level, with water then flowing over spillways into local area creeks and streams.

READ MORE: Flooding a concern in southern BC

“The spillways are designed to handle the excess flows and ensure that water levels are managed within the design of the dams,” said Brad Stuart, water supply and pump stations supervisor with the city.

Story continues below advertisement

“Dam spilling can occur in the spring as the snowpack melts. However, these spillways haven’t been utilized in the past few years, so we just want residents in the area to be aware and not to be alarmed.”

The city said once water moves into spillways, residents will start seeing higher and faster volumes of water moving through the area. It added that people living or working near creeks and streams should exercise caution around fast-moving water.

Kelowna residents prepare for flood season, firefighters train for swift water
Kelowna residents prepare for flood season, firefighters train for swift water

Further, the city said while staff will be monitoring the area, if anyone notices a buildup of debris or culverts being backed up, especially in the Idabel Lake area, to phone 250-469-8600 or submit a service request at kelowna.ca/onlineservices, as blockages have the potential to cause localized flooding.

Further south, the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary says water flows are expected to remain seasonal, but added possible thunderstorms this weekend make forecasting unpredictable.

Story continues below advertisement

“Unsettled weather is forecast to bring possible thunderstorms before Tuesday, May 19, when Boundary rivers will be close to their seasonal peak,” the regional district said Friday.

River, creek levels rising in Okanagan and surrounding regions
River, creek levels rising in Okanagan and surrounding regions

It added that rivers are expected to reach between a one- and five-year return based on current rain forecasts.

That, the regional district continued, equates to an average to slightly above average freshet, but below 2017 levels that caused considerable low-elevation flooding, and well below the catastrophic 2018 levels.

The regional district is also encouraging residents to monitor low-lying areas for potential impacts from rising groundwater.

It also said the high streamflow advisory issued by B.C. River Forecast Centre on May 6 still remains in effect for the Boundary Region including the Kettle River, West Kettle River, Granby River and tributaries.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Okanagan’s elevated snowpack poses moderate flood risk: River Forecast Centre

Further, free sand and sandbags are currently available at the following locations:

  • Beaverdell, behind the fire hall
  • Westbridge Hall
  • Riverside Centre in Rock Creek
  • Grand Forks Arena

Residents must bring their own tools and equipment, and physical distancing rules apply at those locations.

For more information about snow and river levels as well as how to prepare for the 2020 freshet, click here.

Okanagan water board online map helps valley prepare for future flooding
Okanagan water board online map helps valley prepare for future flooding