Government response to 2017 flood season appropriate, professional: independent review - InfoNews

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Government response to 2017 flood season appropriate, professional: independent review

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March 14, 2018 - 10:48 AM

An independent review of the Great Flood of 2017 says despite what many may think, the government response was professionally managed and operationally sound.

A wetter spring on top of unusual fall and winter weather patterns were the driver for severe flooding in parts of the Thompson-Okanagan, concludes a summary of the report from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

The flood caused millions of dollars damage to both public and private property and infrastructure around over-flowing lakes including over $10 million in damage to City of Kelowna assets.

Particularly affected by high inflows were Okanagan Lake, Nicola Lake and to lesser extent, Kalamalka Lake, according to the report prepared by consultant Associated Environmental Consultants Inc.

Contrary to popular belief, there is not one dam controlling lake levels in the Okanagan Valley.

Okanagan and Kalamalka Lakes are collectively managed as part of the ministry-owned and operated Okanagan Lake Regulation System, which runs from Kalamalka Lake in the north to Osoyoos Lake in the south and includes four dams on Kalamalka/Wood lakes, Okanagan Lake, Skaha Lake and Vaseaux Lake.

Operations and decisions around the Nicola Dam are also reviewed in the report.

Both Okanagan Lake and Nicola Lake experienced their highest recorded lake levels in 2017.

A Review of 2017 Flood Response: Okanagan Lake Regulation System and Nicola Dam contains 65 recommendations covering everything from staffing levels to stream flow forecasting models.

Ministry officials say some of the recommendations have already been implemented and more will come from a detailed technical review of the flood response expected at the end of April.


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