Close eye on lake level
Photo: File Image
Penticton dam manager Shaun Reimer predicts Okanagan Lake will rise above full pool over the next 24 hours.
“We are always concerned when there is a lot of rain as we are coming up to our annual peak and this is a target we are really trying to get to because it provides a water supply for irrigation and fish and for the rest of the summer and into the fall.”
“When the extra inflow caused by rain comes into the lake obviously we can go above this full pool target. That does not mean that we will be going really high above that full pool target. It really is going to depend on the rain,” Reimer said.
Reimer says prior to recent, significant rainfall, the rate of rise was dropping.
“We were less than a centimetre per day rise. That was telling us that we are starting to lose a bit of the snow because that inflow was primarily due to the snow. If we do get 20 millimetres of rain then that itself is two centimetres on the lake directly beyond what falls into the tributaries and creeks.”
Reimer says as of Monday morning the lake sat at five centimetres below full pool target.
“There is still a little bit of room there, but we are expecting this rain coming in and I believe it is still a little bit uncertain as to how much rain is going to reach the Okanagan. We should have a better understanding in the next few days.”
“We are pretty much maximizing outflow. We could probably raise it a tiny bit more, but that would start impacting a lot of other people downstream as well and when we are not even at full pool yet that would be very difficult to justify,” he said.
Reimer says he is watching the downstream tributaries.
“They rise up because of this rain event. As that works its way through and those creeks fall off it gives us a bit more room to put water in the Okanagan River between Okanagan and Osoyoos Lake.”