Volunteers fill sandbags during last year’s flooding at Red Wing resort in Penticton. The RDOS is asking for volunteers to help fill bags to cope with this year’s high water levels. Western News file photo

Water level continues to rise in Osoyoos Lake

Already higher than all-time record

The water level in Osoyoos Lake has already surpassed last year’s maximum high water level, and is expected to continue rising.

The flow control gates at Zosel Dam, at the outlet of Osoyoos Lake, have been fully open since March 26, allowing the dam to pass as much water as possible during this high water period. However, the water level has risen to 916 feet, which exceeds previous high levels for the month of May, set at 915.79 feet on May 31, 1972. Last year, Osoyoos Lake peaked on June 2 at 914.98 feet.

The International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control says the mandate is to keep, when possible, Osoyoos Lake between 911 and 912 feet from May 1 to September 15.

The increasing water levels on Osoyoos Lake are largely due to high inflow into Osoyoos Lake from the upstream Okanagan Rivercoupleed with extremely high flow rates on the Similkameen River, which flows into to the Okanagan River downstream of Osoyoos Lake, impeding outflow of water from the lake — called a backwater effect.

It is expected that the rate of increase on the lake will reach a peak level once the flow rate on the Similkameen River begins to drop and the backwater effect on Osoyoos Lake discharge eases off.

A public information meeting is set for May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Sonora Community Centre (8505 68th Ave., Osoyoos).

Residents can expect to receive updates on the flooding, information on protection, information on the

different support agencies such as Emergency Social Services and Disaster Financial Assistance as well as information from other agencies.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the Town of Osoyoos are working together to plan and prevent erosion and obstruction issues in roadways in the Osoyoos areas. This inter-agency cooperation will be better able to project and plan for variables as situations change.

The RDOS is also advising there are safety and security issues with people taking full sandbags at the Oliver Airport and City of Penticton Fire Hall #2 on Dawson Ave. The full sandbags on pallets are not for the general public; they are being used to protect critical infrastructure and public safety. Those locations are only accessible to Emergency Services Personnel.

At other locations, however, volunteers are needed to help fill sandbags. Empty bags and free sand are available for residents to fill and transport to their properties.

If you have time available in the next few days, the RDOS is asking you to visit one of the following locations and offer your help, either in deliveries or filling.

If you arrive at any of these locations below and there is either no sand or no empty bags, please contact the Emergency Operations Center at 250-490-4225. New locations of sand and sandbags may be added daily.

For all other inquiries, call the Emergency Operations Centre at 250-490-4225. For after-hours emergencies, call the Provincial Emergency Program at 1-800-663-3456.

  • Area A Osoyoos – Opposite DairyQueen at 5914 Main Street
  • Area A Osoyoos – West side of Boat Trailer Parking Lot at 6901 Main Street
  • Area A Osoyoos – 91st Street at Highway 97 Graveyard Hill
  • Area B Keremeos Irrigation Pump Station 1st Avenue Hwy 3A
  • Area B Lowe Drive and Upper Bench Road, Cawston
  • Area B 2224 Newton Rd, Cawston
  • Area B 696 Lowe Drive, Cawston
  • Area B Cawston Pine Lane and Newton Road
  • Area B Cawston 2193 Newton Road
  • Area C Oliver, corner of Maple and Cesna
  • Area C Oliver Fire Department – 369 Similkameen Avenue
  • Area C Oliver Public Works Yard, 5971 Sawmill Rd
  • Area C Oliver rural – 124 Sportsmen Bowl
  • Area C Oliver rural – 5422 Sunflower & 5433 Sumac
  • Area C Oliver rural – 5432 Hwy 97
  • Area C Willowbrook – Carr Cres & Johnson
  • Area C Willowbrook Fire Hall
  • Area C Fruitstand at SW corner of Sportmen Bowl
  • Area C 450 Road 8, Oliver (Intersection Winery)
  • Area C Willowbrook, Myers Rd and Johnson Cresc
  • Area C 309 Road 9
  • Area D Okanagan Falls Seacan Cedar Street Keogan Park parking lot
  • Area D Twin Lakes, 102 Twin Lakes Rd
  • Area D Twin Lakes, Taggert Cresc and Hwy 3A
  • Area D Twin Lakes, across from 451 Eastview Rd, Twin Lakes
  • Area E Naramata Fire Hall
  • Area F Faulder – by mailboxes
  • Area F Faulder – 132 White Lake Rd
  • Area F Meadow Valley – 822 Fish Lake Rd
  • Area G Olalla – 1st and Main
  • Area G Olalla – 5th and Main
  • Area H Erris Fire Department / 2254 Princeton-Summerland Rd
  • Area H Princeton, Public Works Yard
  • Area H Princeton, Fire Hall, 174 Penryn Rd
  • Area H Princeton, Exhibition Grounds
  • Area H Tulameen Firehall
  • Area H Missezula Lake, at the beach
  • Area H Missezula Lake, 3590 Summers Ck


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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