Okanagan Lake level on the rise as spring melt begins

Water level bottomed out during Easter weekend, but lake is filling up quickly now

Okanagan Lake reached its annual low level over the Easter weekend and is now about 80 centimetres below full pool. The spring’s water inflow is projected to be 116 per cent of normal

Okanagan Lake reached its annual low level over the Easter weekend and is now about 80 centimetres below full pool. The spring’s water inflow is projected to be 116 per cent of normal

Okanagan Lake’s water level dipped to its annual low during the Easter weekend, but a spell of warm weather and rain now has it back on the rise.

A team from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations had been drawing down the lake since January in order to make room for this spring’s melt water.

“We have eight to 10 weeks to go before we reach peak level in Okanagan Lake, and so really anything can happen in terms of the weather and that’s what we just have to watch for and react to as best we can,” said Des Anderson, who heads the ministry’s public safety and protection office in Penticton.

The lake’s level, which is controlled by a dam on its outflow in Penticton, is measured at a Kelowna gauge, data from which shows the water dropped by about 30 centimetres between Jan. 1 and April 1. Since then, it’s risen about 10 cm, but is still about 80 cm under the target maximum lake level that officials describe as full pool.

Anderson said this spring’s inflow forecast for the lake is currently projected at 116 per cent of normal, which is “manageable” if Mother Nature co-operates.

“Based on the current forecast and on normal conditions, things are looking OK. But things could change if the weather becomes extreme,” he added.

It’s much the same story region-wide.

According to the provincial government’s April 1 snowpack bulletin, the Okanagan-Kettle basin is at 107 per cent of normal, down from 115 per cent on March 1.

“In terms of flood risk, we’re slightly elevated in the Okanagan, but it’s not that high. (It’s) what we would consider to be normal,” said David Campbell, head of the B.C. River Forecast Centre.

The Similkameen, however, continues to be on the dry side. Its snowpack was at 79 per cent of normal as of March 1, and creeped up to just 82 per cent as of April 1.

“That may have some implications as we get later in the summer in terms of water availability,” Campbell said.

Snowpack data is compiled with the help of 53 detectors scattered at high-elevation sites throughout the province that are grouped by major water basins into which the snow will melt.

Campbell said it’s tough to make predictions for flood season based only on snowpack data, since spring weather conditions will dictate how quickly the white stuff melts.

The latest snowpack bulletin contains a three-month forecast from Environment Canada that calls for “a high likelihood of above normal temperatures,” and  “a higher likelihood of drier than normal April-June conditions” for central and southern B.C.


Just Posted

New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read