Fighting floods with science

More than 90 residents showed up Thursday night to hear how the City of Armstrong is fighting annual flooding problems. 

Using provincial and federal funding, Interior Dams Inc. compiled data on how to end the water woes.

The city was hit hard by flooding in both 2017 and 2018, leading council to seek solutions to mitigate damage in future years. 

Project engineer Aaron Hahn explained in layman’s terms the findings of his report. Its intent is to increase public awareness and "promote development and implementation of an integrated flood management plan."

Admitting forecasting is a best guess, Hahn said data and science are the best “tool to reduce risk.”

Historical and present day data were combined to give a best estimate cost of flooding in Armstrong, to the tune of $1.6 million per year. 

The 171-page report combines vast amounts of historical data. With the assistance of city employees, Hahn identified several key items to be considered. These include upgrading of hydraulic structures, such as culverts, and dredging Meighan and Deep Creeks. More complex, designing a Meighan Creek bypass in the event of a flood.

It is a complex issue, connecting waterways from Spallumcheen through Armstrong, he said, and including environmental and stewardship rules governing riparian areas.

According to Mayor Chris Pieper, “The value of this report will be to assist Armstrong citizens deciding the best course of action in reducing flooding. A part of this is navigating the rules and regulations under Section 11,” a provincial water licensing required when waterways are involved.

The draft report is available here.

– By Cindy Rhyason

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