Posted by Rick Taylor on Sep 07, 2017

Brian Symonds is the water stewardship manager with the provincial ministry of forests, lands and natural resources, which oversees the handling of water levels of the valley lake chain system that includes Wood, Kalamalka, Okanagan, Skaha, Vasieux and Osoyoos lakes.  He spoke to the club today about the 2017 floods and why they were so high.

He said they have dam releases on many of those lakes and have the ability to make lake level adjustments, but what they were seeing at the start of the flooding were inflow levels exceeding what their ability was to let water out of the larger lakes. They had to also consider the negative downstream impact from water releases.

The excessive input levels came from heavy spring rains in the valley and snow in the upper elevations, followed by a warm spell that melted the late snowpack, which added to the water already running in the creeks. The dams were releasing water downstream but the amount coming in was far more than they could release. This lead to historic levels in all of the lakes.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board website provides access to information about the water systems in the valley, both current and historic, and links to many water related issues - http://www.obwb.ca/

Brian is on the left in this photo with Rotarian Mike Nolan.

Sponsors