Okanagan Lake is almost full but summer's demand should draw it down fast

A homeowner in Summerland is sandbagging a property on Okanagan Lake as water levels rise.
Image Credit: Matthew Clarke@mclarkeey via Instagram

OKANAGAN - If you think Okanagan Lake is full right now, you’re right, but the spring freshet is only part of it.

The Ministry of Natural Resources is holding back, keeping as much water as they can in the big lake for future needs, with the lake currently just two centimetres under its yearly target for this time of the year.

“Okanagan Lake is peaking several weeks earlier than normal because of the early snowmelt this year,” ministry spokesperson Greig Bethel said in an email.

“The ministry is trying hold water in the lake so there is enough for fish, irrigation and recreation in the lake and Okanagan River later into the summer.”

Bethel added lake levels are likely to fall soon with recent hot weather and a relatively dry spring expected to rapidly increase demand.

According to the B.C. Drought Information Portal, the Okanagan and Similkameen regions are currently classified as dry. The North and South Thompson regions are both reporting normal levels.

Last summer, the Okanagan region was placed under a level four drought advisory along with the North and South Thompson and Similkameen regions.

Find more drought stories here.

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