'It's a big ship to steer'

The man in charge of the levels of Okanagan Lake isn’t sure more data would have changed things this spring.

The BC River Forecast Centre publishes a snowpack survey once a month in February, March and April, with two in May. Only a portion of the snowpack stations provide real-time data. With so much rain falling in April, and snow in the mountains, Castanet asked Shaun Reimer if his team would have been better served by more data.

“One of the problems is, is that it’s a big ship to steer,” he said.

“The engineer in me always appreciates more data, and certainly more snow information, more stream gauge information is certainly valuable, not just for my program, but for all sorts of things.  I still don't know if that would have told the tale this year for us, it's really difficult, there is just so much variation, and so many problems turning the ship late in the day.”

Reimer stresses that had the constant rain of this spring not materialized, the Okanagan could be looking at drought conditions right now, which bring environmental and economic impacts of their own.

“When we decide to make those changes, we are trying to strike a balance, because there are many years that this could have been a completely different situation,” he said.

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