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Community warned to stay away from Shuswap River during high water levels

Click to play video: 'Community advised to refrain from using Shuswap River during high water levels' Community advised to refrain from using Shuswap River during high water levels
Just one day after the Shuswap River Ambassadors issued an advisory warning people to stay off the river during higher than normal water levels, it appears people are following instructions. As Victoria Femia reports going into the water during this advisory puts everyone at risk. – Jul 16, 2022

Murky and fast-moving water has prompted a warning from the Shuswap River Ambassadors to stay off the Shuswap River.

The river has reached levels that are higher than normal for this time of year. Usually the river peaks earlier in the Spring.

“We’re recommending people not to go on the water,” said Kaylee Wells, Shuswap River Ambassadors Manager.

“Just with the increased force of the river, it is more likely that you can get sucked under sweepers and log jams. There’s a lot of debris and the water is really murky, so you can’t see all of the hazards. This is not a controlled channel, it’s a river so we do have a lot more environmental hazards versus a controlled channel or canal.”

Read more: Inflatables, canoes, paddleboards discouraged on Shuswap River due to unseasonable high water

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While recreational activities are not recommended at this time, it’s not banned and the organization has already received reports of recent rescues.

“We did have reports of a resident saying that they did pull a group of people off the river this week. They were in a bad situation and so local residents have pulled people off,” said Wells.

When people go against the advisory, Wells says not only are they at risk but so are those that are tasked to save them if things go wrong.

Read more: Water level in Shuswap Lake rising, regional district activates emergency operations centre

“It’s disappointing because it does put other people at risk. So local residents, it’s not their job to be rescuing people off the river. It puts them at risk, going to save people and other floaters,” said Wells.

“It does put a strain on any emergency services when people are going out and need to be rescued.”

One Enderby resident, who has been coming to the Shuswap River for the last five years says she’s never seen it this high at this time of year.

Read more: With Shuswap River rising rapidly, Enderby activates emergency operations centre

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Mainina Erdahl recommends anyone who plans to go by the water while it’s in this condition, not to go beyond the shorelines, as that area is more shallow than the middle.

“The water is not clear and you have all that under current and you got all the big logs that still come up, it’s not good,” said Erdahl.

There’s no word yet on how long it will take for the water to decrease to levels where it is safe to float and do other recreational activities, however, it could take up to a couple of weeks.

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