Snow melt causing Osoyoos Lake to rise

The Washington Department of Ecology raises concerns over rising Osoyoos Lake

Rising water levels in Osoyoos Lake is causing issues for our neighbours to the south.

The Washington Department of Ecology is issuing flood warnings along the Okanagan and Similkameen rivers in the United States.

RELATED: Osoyoos Lake levels are rising

The gates of the Zosel Dam at Oroville, Washington, are wide open due to a higher than average snow level in all B.C. watershed regions.

Al Josephy with the Washington Department of Ecology states that, on the U.S. side of the border, the rivers are at 914.04 feet — up by a foot and a half since Friday.

“Last year, which was the highest we recorded in more than a decade, we reached 914.87 on June 2.”

Ecology’s target is to maintain a level of between 911.5 and 912 feet from May 1 to Sept. 15.

Osoyoos Lake is fed from Okanagan Lake and is governed B.C.

RELATED: B.C. family trust ordered to restore shoreline on Lake Osoyoos property

According to Josephy, at this time there is twice as much water coming into Lake Osoyoos than can exit, as the high flows in the Similkameen act as a dam at the confluence with the Okanagan.

“Once Zosel dam gates are wide open as they have been since late March, the lake must seek its own level, when runoff is high throughout the system,” Josephy said. “This can mean people may see some flooding to property along the lake and down to the site of the dam itself.”

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