Spring spill-over of dams fuels rising creek levels

Dams spilling over

Dams in the Regional District of North Okanagan are spilling over – but there is no need to worry.

“Dams are designed to spill into the natural waterways once the reservoirs are full, to protect against the dam overtopping. This is the normal function of dams and reservoirs, and our staff closely monitor this process,” says Zee Marcolin, general manager of utilities.

“A dam spilling is very different from a dam breaching. We know there have been some reports that the dam breached, but that is not true. A dam breach would be an emergency situation, while the dam spilling is a routine function that occurs every spring when the snow melts.”

The RDNO has multiple dams that function to hold water in reservoir lakes before it makes its way to treatment facilities and then to your tap.

Reservoirs are vital for storing water for use in drier summer months, but they only hold a limited volume.

In the spring, when the snow melts, the reservoirs commonly reach their maximum water levels and then overflow into the spillways. The spillways are designed to handle the spring runoff and protect the dams while keeping the lake at manageable levels, the RDNO says.

Greater Vernon Water's Grizzly Dam has reached its maximum capacity and is spilling into Haddo Lake. Haddo dam is expected to reach its maximum capacity today and start spilling into Duteau Creek. Aberdeen Dam is not yet full, but is expected to fill in the next few weeks. The Aberdeen Dam flows to Haddo and then into Duteau Creek.

Those living or working near creeks and streams should be aware that water levels may rise quickly during this time and should exercise caution around the fast-moving water.

More Vernon News