Flood threat stabilizes in Willowbrook, but more rain forecast - InfoNews

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Flood threat stabilizes in Willowbrook, but more rain forecast

A Myers Road culvert was dug up in Willowbrook, west of Oliver on the weekend to enable Kearns Creek to flow more freely.
April 03, 2018 - 1:42 PM

PENTICTON - Willowbrook residents are anxiously watching the weather this week as efforts continue to keep water flowing in and through Kearns Creek.

Jim Stanley, whose home in the rural community west of Oliver is potentially at risk for flooding, says efforts over the last few days included the removal of a culvert at the intersection of Myers Road and Johnson Crescent to allow Kearns Creek to flow more freely.

A pump was also installed across Carr Crescent to move more water around a culvert on that street.

“This whole area was flooded, but with the removal of the culvert and installation of this pump, the water levels have receded back into the creek bed, returning the land to those people with hobby farms and horse stables,” Stanley says.

“It’s maintaining, it’s stabilized, but the aquifer is right at the threatening point where we have a couple of homes on the verge of flooding, if they haven’t already. We’re crossing our fingers this is working,” he says.

Willowbrook resident Jim Stanley and RDOS alternate Director Rick Knodel monitor a pump in use to assist flow of Kearns Creek around an undersized culvert on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
Willowbrook resident Jim Stanley and RDOS alternate Director Rick Knodel monitor a pump in use to assist flow of Kearns Creek around an undersized culvert on Tuesday, April 3, 2018.

Stanley says Willowbrook recently received some government assistance, but much more is needed to upgrade culverts in the area to handle the increased water flow.

“This all has to be redone, the dam upstream has to be dealt with,” he says, adding the potential for more rain this week is worrisome.

“This is a reactive scenario, it should have been proactive. We’ve been dealing with this for 10 months,” Stanley says. Several areas of Willowbrook flooded last spring.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Emergency Operations spokesperson Cameron Baughen says the district is continuing to monitor water levels in Kearns Creek and behind the dam to ensure they continue to drop.

“We want to make sure the dam level is sufficiently low enough to handle any rainfall or snow melt that might come in,” he says.

The flood situation stabilized over the weekend but the area continues to remain under a state of emergency. The regional district continues to distribute and position sandbagging materials in the area.

Flood mitigation efforts have allowed freer flow of Kearns Creek through the community of Willowbrook, but the creek continues to back up southwest of the community, causing another potential threat.
Flood mitigation efforts have allowed freer flow of Kearns Creek through the community of Willowbrook, but the creek continues to back up southwest of the community, causing another potential threat.

Area C alternate director Rick Knodel says it has been an unusual couple of springs in the Willowbrook area. He’s not certain where all the water is coming from, noting last year’s flooding was mainly from snowmelt in May.

This year is much earlier, and likely due to runoff because of high groundwater saturation.

“We’ve got water flowing in places that it never existed in before,” he says.

Knodel says the efforts over the last few days have opened up the flow of Kearns Creek, but creek waters are now backing up in a field just south of the community, which could be a concern in the future.

“A lot of people are concerned. There’s still a lot of snow at higher elevations, and this flooding is occurring two months earlier than last year,” he says.


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