Flooding concerns in Lumby will be investigated but there’s no guarantee anything will be done.
The Regional District of North Okanagan has asked staff to identify options to assist the village with flood control.
“We will see if Lumby wants to contribute and then we can go from there,” said director Doug Dirk.
RDNO received a letter from the village Wednesday expressing concern that high water and damage to property has not been taken seriously. The village has linked flooding on Duteau Creek to Greater Vernon’s domestic water opertions.
“Harris and Bessette creeks didn’t flood. Duteau was the only one that flooded,” said Kevin Acton, Lumby’s mayor.
“If you are going to put in a dam and reservoir for Greater Vernon’s water, it has to be controlled in a responsible manner.”
Given increasing reservoir storage and snowpack levels, Acton insists RDNO should have released water early to make room in the reservoirs and minimize the potential of flooding.
RDNO officials state they can’t let water out of the reservoirs early, because, depending on weather conditions in the early spring, that water may be needed for domestic supply this summer.
“We’ve had three years where we’ve been unable to fill the reservoirs even with high snowpack. It either evaporates or goes into the ground,” said Dale McTaggart, engineering general manager.
He also points out that snowmelt spilling over the reservoirs and into the creek is a natural process.
A possible option to reduce flooding is expanding the height of the reservoirs, but some doubts exist about that proposal.
“Even if we raise the Aberdeen dam, there’s no guarantee it will stop flooding because the tributary area is quite large,” said McTaggart.
Any work could be costly and the provincial and federal governments would likely be approached for funding.
“We’re not just looking to the regional district. We’re looking for a total solution,” said Acton.