RDOS advises residents to prepare for flooding

RDOS advises residents to prepare for flooding

Residents in flood-prone areas are encouraged to start planning for potential flooding this spring. Shown here are forestry crews filling sandbags on Sportsmen's Bowl Road during the 2018 flood. (File photo)

Flood season is coming, so the regional district wants you to be prepared.

It is advising property owners to be aware of the possibility of localized flooding due to spring runoff. 

As of Feb. 1, the snowpack across the South Okanagan was 129 per cent above average for this time of year. It is now approximately 145 per cent. As a result, there remains a risk of flooding due to rainfall. 

Residents living in areas impacted by flooding in recent years (Sportsmen’s Bowl Road and Park Rill) should have a preparedness plan in place. 

The province has noted higher than average snowpack and staff have initiated higher flows out of Okanagan Lake. This is being done to lower the lake level in advance of the spring snowmelt period and to reduce potential flood risks. 

The regional district reminds property owners that they are ultimately responsible for protecting their own property from flooding. 

Regional staff will provide sand and sandbags for property owners as needed, in addition to information about sandbag placement. 

Flooding on private property will typically occur as a result of high stream flow, pooling or slow rising water from a body of water. 

The following should be considered for protecting your property from flooding: 

Determine potential sources of flooding that may impact your property.
   Preparing for flood protection takes time and requires manual labour.
   Work on the most effective methods to protect your property for the type of flood risk; to protect the most important areas such as your home or areas where the greatest damage may occur.
   Avoid working alone around flowing water; use proper safety equipment and techniques to avoid injury.
Get help. Sandbagging is labour intensive and physically demanding work. 

Work with your neighbours; coordinating work with adjacent properties may provide more effective flood defenses.
   Properties with routine flooding may wish to invest in improved flood defences that can be quickly deployed and are less labour intensive to put in place than sandbags. 

Create sandbag walls or other barrier type flood defences alongside the stream; contain the stream or re-direct the flow away from your home and other critical areas of your property. Be aware that backing up of flow may cause water to rise or backflow into unprotected areas. 

Create sandbag walls with heavy duty poly or plastic sheeting incorporated to completely surround a structure. Have pumps on hand to remove seepage of water from within the protected area; be aware that power may be out or disconnected. Have a generator on hand if needed. 

Sand and sandbag locations will be listed on the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) website: https://emergency.rdos.bc.ca/
If you require assistance with sandbagging, please connect with friends, family or volunteer organizations. 

The RDOS does not deliver sand or sandbags to private residences or businesses. 

Emergency Notification 

Sign up for CivicReady® Mass Notification System: https://emergency.rdos.bc.ca/civic-ready/ 

Emergency management staff will be at the 2020 Penticton Home and Reno Show March 7-8 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Volunteers with Emergency Support Services (ESS) and Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT) will also be present. Stop by the RDOS EOC booth to learn more about preparing for floods, wildfires and other emergencies.