Officials warn that a complete focus on flood control in Lumby could have serious ramifications for Greater Vernon residents during drought years.
Regional District of North Okanagan staff have compiled a number of options to address Lumby’s concern that management of the Duteau Creek reservoirs has led to high water in the village.
But Zee Marcolin, Greater Vernon Water manager, says that while there appears to be sufficient water supply when the dams are spilling during spring runoff, the situation can change if the weather turns hot and dry and that can lead to a lack of water for Greater Vernon residents during the summer.
“Releasing water before (runoff) can get us into trouble. We would put our water system more at risk of water shortage.”
Lumby director Kevin Acton is frustrated by the response from RDNO.
“As soon as you control a body of water, you are responsible for what happens below,” he said, adding that there has been flooding in Lumby three years in a row.
“If lawns go brown in Vernon due to a miscalculation (in water supply), that’s a lesser concern than flooding homes.”
Acton favours the report options that could involve a comprehensive hydrology study of Duteau Creek and raising the Aberdeen reservoir to allow for more storage and address flooding.
“We don’t think the regional district is responsible for the whole thing (flooding). The province also needs to get involved,” he said.
According to Marcolin, the Duteau Creek irrigation system actually helps Lumby.
“If they weren’t there, there would still be flooding,” she said.
“The reservoirs hold back some water. The flows don’t go as fast.”
The RDNO board has made no decisions on the staff report.