Summer weather helps boost Okanagan Lake level - InfoNews

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Summer weather helps boost Okanagan Lake level

Regular rain this summer has helped bring Okanagan Lake closer to the province's target level for the lake, although it is still five centimetres below the target level for the end of August.
August 23, 2019 - 7:00 PM

PENTICTON - A summer weather pattern that brought regular precipitation to the Okanagan has had a positive impact on the valley’s biggest water resource.

Shaun Reimer, the head of public safety and protection with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development, says although Okanagan Lake is still below target levels, things are in better shape than they were in June.

“At the end of June, we were 31 centimetres below our target levels, which was quite concerning to us. Thanks to various reasons, including the rain July provided, as well as lower discharges out of the Okanagan Lake dam and conservation meausures implemented up and down the valley, we’re still below target but we’ve caught up a bit,” Reimer said today, Aug. 23.

Reimer says the lake level is still five cm below his target level for the end of August.

“We could still lose a lot of water by the end of the month,” Reimer says.

Even with further losses, Reimer figures it wouldn’t amount to more than seven to 10 cm lower than target levels.

“That’s better straits than we were in June, and bodes a little better going into fall and winter,” he says.

Reimer says there is adequate flow in the Okanagan River channel for fish.

He says conservation measures are still encouraged, as the prospect of drought continues.

“The first year of a drought is not as concerning. We’re prepared to go below our target levels on the lake to meet water needs. We’re still looking at minimally meeting all needs, but questions come up and harder decisions need to made if we get into a second or third year of drought. If we can keep reasonably close to our target levels, it bodes well for the future,” he says.

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