RDOS provide suggestions to help property owners avoid flooding

Spring thaw may cause flood

Property owners are being warned of the possibility of localized flooding in the coming months due to freshet.

As of Feb. 1, the snowpack across the South Okanagan was 129 per cent of the average for this time of year. 

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is advising residents living in areas impacted by flooding in recent years to be prepared for the same this season, and have a plan in place. 

Staff will continue to monitor snow conditions and lake levels as the spring freshet approaches. 

In response to the higher than average snowpack, RDOS says staff have initiated higher flows out of Okanagan Lake, in order to lower the lake level in advance and reduce potential flood risks. 

Spring weather such as widespread heavy rain or periods of warmer weather can also have a significant impact on freshet flood risks, in addition to snowpack levels. 

Property owners are responsible for taking the necessary steps to protect their home and property for flooding, and RDOS says it will provide sand and sandbags for home owners as needed. 

Sand and sandbag locations will be listed on the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) website.

To keep your property safe from flooding, RDOS suggests:

  • Assess - Determine potential sources of flooding that may impact your property.
  • Act early - Preparing flood protection takes time and requires manual labour.
  • Focus your efforts – Work on the most effective methods to protect your property for the type of flood risk; to protect the most important areas such as your home or areas where the greatest damage may occur.
  • Be Safe – Avoid working alone around flowing water, use proper safety equipment and techniques to avoid injury.
  • Get Help – Sandbagging is labour intensive and physically demanding work. Communicate - Work with your neighbours; coordinating work with adjacent
  • properties may provide more effective flood defenses.
  • Invest – Properties with routine flooding may wish to invest in improved flood defences that can be quickly deployed and are less labour intensive to put in place than sandbags.
  • Streams and flowing water - Create sandbag walls or other barrier type flood defences alongside the stream; contain the stream or re-direct the flow away from your home and other critical areas of your property; be aware that backing up of flow may cause water to rise or backflow into unprotected areas.
  • Pooling or slow rising water from a body of water - Create sandbag walls with heavy duty poly or plastic sheeting incorporated to completely surround a structure; have pumps on hand to remove seepage of water from within the protected area; be aware that power may be out or disconnected; have a generator on hand if needed.

To sign up for emergency alerts, visit https://emergency.rdos.bc.ca/civic-ready/.

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