Okanagan Lake Dam called ‘inadequate’ for flood mitigation

Kelowna Capital News – October 5, 2021

The Okanagan Lake dam, in its current state, is not enough to manage the rapidly changing water levels at the lake.

Executive director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) Anna Warwick Sears said as much in a report submitted to a provincial financial committee asking for funding for a variety of fixes — the most imminent being the aging Okanagan Lake Dam.

Water regulating infrastructures typically have a lifespan of 70 to 80 years. The Okanagan Dam is now more than 60 years old.

“It is inadequate for managing future floods… given the increased volume and frequency of floods as a result of climate change, and the Province of B.C. needs to begin planning for its replacement,” she wrote.

The dam is owned and operated by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD). The board partnered with the ministry to develop a plan to modernize the lake’s regulation system but in order for work to begin, funding is needed, according to Warwick Sears.

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