Okanagan Lake’s ‘full pool’ target hasn’t changed for decades, but maybe it should

InfoNews.ca – August 20, 2020

Ongoing concerns about Okanagan Lake flooding has sparked the District of Peachland to suggest the full pool mark for the lake be lowered pending a review of what that level should be.

That recommendation followed a presentation to council last month, at its request, by Shaun Reimer, section head for public safety and protection with the Ministry of Forests and the man who controls the lake outflow at Penticton.

Reimer, however, is not pushing for such changes at this time.

“I understand where their concerns would be and I think that it is probably time to start having those discussions around lake level targets,” he told iNFOnews.ca.

But, at this point, he will leave it in the hands of the politicians. Peachland council directed Mayor Cindy Fortin to write to the Okanagan Basin Water Board and Regional District of the Central Okanagan asking for their support.

“Our lake level targets were put in place through a big consultative process back in the 1960s and 70s,” Reimer said. “They were based on the information at the time and a sort of limited data set at the time of where lake levels were and their understanding of what the climate was and certainly didn’t factor in any climate change.”

While a simplistic answer to the floods in 2017 is to not allow the lake to get so full before all the snow in the surrounding hill melts, it’s not as easy as that.

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