The Okanagan Basin Water Board has announced funding of 1.45 million dollars to help communities in the valley plan and prepare for future flood events.
The money comes from the federal and BC governments.
Executive director Anna Warwick Sears says the weather in the Okanagan is changing.
“Last spring, we saw historic flooding in our valley, followed by a prolonged dry spell. Climate scientists have warned that extreme fluctuations are going to become more common. This project will help us plan for stronger and safer communities.”
Pictured: Anna Warwick Sears, Okanagan Basin Water Board Executive Director
Sears says the project will use radar technology to create a 3D map of the landscape.
“The flood mapping will use LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), a radar technology that is a form of aerial imaging. LiDAR creates a digital 3D map of the landscape, to help with flood mapping and flood response planning and disaster mitigation. It is combined with geo-referenced aerial photos to accurately map the landscape.”
Sears says the LiDAR will show where water is likely to flow, and will include modeling of how much water can be expected and help determine vulnerable locations.
“The amazing thing about this project,” says OBWB Chair Tracy Gray, “is the amount of collaboration that has been developed around flood planning our valley, with Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) and its member communities, local governments – including the Regional Districts of North Okanagan, Central Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen, the Town of Armstrong, the cities of Vernon and Kelowna, and the B.C. government. Everyone is working together and all will benefit.”