Okanagan water levels cause concern

By Kristi Patton – Penticton Western News May 8, 2012 

High river flows are a safety concern.

High water levels near Okanagan rivers have conservation officers reminding anglers to be wary.

“Right now they are trying to let as much water out as possible out of Okanagan Lake and the river is flowing very, very fast. We are starting to get some spring fishing activity and there are anglers that are starting to fish. They should be using quite a level of caution associated with the river,” said local conservation officer Jim Beck.

The provincial government sent out a warning on Friday to use caution around the Okanagan River as recent rains combined with this year’s snowpack melt are expected to cause higher runoff into the river from Okanagan Lake for the next several weeks.

“Usually the Okanagan River is quite a tame little river, but right now it is boiling pretty aggressively,” said Beck. “Really be sure of your footing if you are out there, and if you have any small children, keep them away, and the same with pets. I wouldn’t be wanting to throw a stick or ball into that river for your pet because you might not see your pet again.”

The spring melt has also put local rescue teams on high-alert who are part of a regional team that covers an area from the Canada-U.S. border in the south to Vernon in the north and from Manning Park in the west to the Kettle River in the east.

Flows in Okanagan River between Okanagan Lake and Osoyoos Lake are currently well above normal and are expected to remain high throughout the spring and early summer. The province is urging those who do go into the river to take precautionary safety measures such as using a safe watercraft and wearing a life-jacket.


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