Stream safety urged as dams spill in Greater Vernon

Local waterways swell from spring melt

Grizzly Dam spill

Grizzly Dam spill

Spring melt means local dams are spilling and will cause local creeks and streams to swell. Therefore area residents are urged to use caution around these waterways.

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) has multiple dams which function to hold water in reservoir lakes before the water makes its way to the treatment facilities and then to your tap. Reservoirs are vital to the health of our community by storing water for use in drier summer months, but they only hold a limited volume.

In the spring, when the snow melts, the reservoirs commonly reach their maximum water levels and then overflow into the spillways. These spillways are designed to handle the spring runoff and protect the dams while keeping the lake at manageable levels.

The Greater Vernon Water Grizzly and Aberdeen Dams have both reached their maximum capacity and are spilling into the Haddo Dam. The Haddo Dam is expected to reach its maximum capacity today (Tuesday, June 7) and start spilling into Duteau Creek.

“Dams are designed to spill into the natural waterways once the reservoirs are full to protect against the dam overtopping. This is the normal function of dams and reservoirs, and our staff closely monitor this process,” said Zee Marcolin, RDNO general manager of utilities.

The spillways channel the water to creeks and streams, which causes the water to rise and move quickly at a higher volume. Persons living or working near creeks and streams should be aware that water levels may rise quickly during this time and should exercise caution around the fast-moving water.

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