Dam not ready for runoff

Concerns about Garnet Dam's capacity in Summerland have led district council to approve a new bridge and access road for the site.

Council heard Monday night that an upgrade to the dam site is urgently needed, due to the fact that the projected maximum flood level for the area is "about 10 times higher than current capacity," according to Kris Johnson, director of works and utilities.

Snow pack in two areas — Headwaters Reservoir and Isintok Reservoir — show that snow accumulation is at 148 and 159 per cent of average respectively. The risk of flooding is especially concerning this year heading into springtime.

During the past few months, inflows into Garnet Reservoir have been the highest they've been since tracking started in 2012, possibly due to the large wildfire that burned a large part of the reservoir catchment area last fall. 

The upgrade will involve construction of a free span bridge to replace the existing culvert where the access road crosses the spillway, which does not have the ability to withstand a worst-case scenario flood. 

The bridge will cost $100,000, all of which will come from the water capital reserve fund and will not affect taxes for Summerland residents. 

No precise timeline for the project has been settled yet, but as spring runoff season approaches, there is a sense of urgency.

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