This high-tech tool may help Okanagan communities be better prepared for flooding - InfoNews

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This high-tech tool may help Okanagan communities be better prepared for flooding

The Mission Creek Restoration Initiative's newly created floodplain.
April 10, 2018 - 1:00 PM

OKANAGAN - Flood plain mapping has already begun in the Okanagan, part of a $1.45-million effort to identify the areas most at risk of flooding the valley.

Okanagan Basin Water Board executive director Anna Warwick Sears said aerial mapping using Light Detection and Ranging technology began yesterday in the South Okanagan and would continue until complete sometime in May, weather permitting.

Warwick Sears said use of the LiDAR  will allow Okanagan communities to access detailed 3-D maps of where water is most likely to flow and where vulnerabilities exist.

Provincial funding for the project comes from Emergency Management B.C. while the federal National Disaster Mitigation program also contributed to the project.

Warwick Sears said the site of the media announcement at Kinsmen Park on the shore of Okanagan Lake was deliberate as the scene of major flooding last year.

Shaun Reimer from the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources said the information gleaned from LiDAR would be of great use to communities looking at future land use in their communities, describing flooding as “primarily a land use problem."

While some flood plain mapping has already been done in the Central Okanagan, this project covers the catch basins of the entire Okanagan drainage area.

Flooding last spring caused extensive damage around Okanagan Lake last spring, including almost $20 million in the Central Okanagan.

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