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Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk warn local officials

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is sounding the alarm on local flooding issues.

Officials have sent a letter to the provincial government outlining their concern over the management of Okanagan Lake's water levels.

“We’re very concerned about the current lake level management and the risks of extreme flooding in the future,” explained OBWB executive director Anna Warwick Sears.

“This is a serious problem we are facing. This is not hype.”

The existing plan for controlling the Okanagan Lake level was put in place in the 1970s and, in the face of climate change, needs updating.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed.

Recent years have seen extreme flooding in the Okanagan and updated flood mapping for the valley has signalled that the way the lake is managed needs to change.

“There is an urgent need to have this review,” the letter states.

“The technical report for this effort found that as a result of climate change, floods will ‘exceed the capacity of existing infrastructure if operational rules are not adjusted.’”

It also asks that Kalamalka Lake be included in the review because it, too, has flooding problems.

The correspondence is backed up by letters of support from municipal governments across the Okanagan Valley.

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