Posted on: April 18, 2018

Spring runoff and flooding preparedness

Last year, the region experienced unprecedented flooding, and Westbank First Nation ("WFN") declared a local state of Emergency on May 11, 2017, which lasted until July 10, 2017. One area along the IR 10 foreshore was put on evacuation alert. Monumental effort was provided by WFN staff and staff from other local jurisdictions. Key to success of the response was the sharing of knowledge and resources (11 WFN staff from across various departments contributed).

Our current focus is now on prevention and preparedness. The lake level is being closely monitored and managed by the Province and is not anticipated to be a concern in 2018. There is however above-average creek levels and snow pack at the mid and upper elevations, as well as higher ground water levels from melting snow and rain, which does create risks for those living near creeks, streams, low-lying properties or adjacent to hillsides, especially if flooding has been experienced in the past.

Spring runoff and creek levels are currently being monitored, and parts of the region are experiencing some flooding. WFN at this time is not aware of any imminent threats on its lands.

Residents are responsible to have an emergency plan in place, as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect their properties from possible flood damage. Residents should monitor their properties for any concerns of flooding and ensure debris is not blocking drains or normal water flows.

Residents should be cautious around creeks, as water can unexpectedly rise and flow faster, and people and pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the runoff. Boaters should also be careful of floating debris carried into area lakes from rising and faster flowing tributaries.

For reporting of non-emergency flooding concerns on WFN lands, contact WFN's Public Works Department at 250-707-0493. For emergencies including the threat of life, call 9-1-1. Everyone is also strongly encouraged to visit the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre webpage at for resources, including how to make a plan, know the risks, and build a sandbag wall or dike, and to e-subscribe to emergency updates.