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High Okanagan River channel flows continue as talk turns to possible drought conditions

A solitary tuber coming to the end of his ride on the Penticton River channel on Saturday, July 8, 2017. Tubers continue to use the channel in spite of the dangerously high water flow.
July 10, 2017 - 5:30 PM

PENTICTON - Flow rates on the Okanagan River channel south of the Okanagan Lake dam continue to run at high levels, even as the lake level continues to drop.

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations public safety and protection section head Shaun Reimer says the flow out of the Okanagan Lake dam in Penticton has dropped by one cubic metre per second in the last few weeks and is currently at 78 cubic metres per second.

That’s little change from flow rates of two weeks ago when a 21-year-old man visiting the area drowned after becoming entangled in his raft on a bridge pier.

The local channel float operator, Coyote Cruises, has still not begun their 2017 season due to safety concerns, but even so, this past weekend saw several tubers on the channel.

Ironically, in spite of the high water levels this year, the past two weeks of hot and dry weather have some planners talking about possible drought conditions later this summer.

Reimer says he’s not aware of any declaration of drought stages for the Okanagan River system, but adds he wouldn’t be surprised if some Okanagan tributaries ended up in drought conditions if the present weather pattern persists.

“There are drought preparation meetings going on with that in mind,” he says in an email.

Reimer says Okanagan Lake should return to its target full pool level by the first week of August.

“That is somewhat weather dependent and that date could be pushed back if we see significant rainfall,” he says.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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