Water from Shuswap and Mara lakes and the channel reached the east side of Riverside Avenue during the 2012 flood event in Sicamous. (File photo)

CSRD pursuing flood-risk maps of Shuswap

Mapping of flood-prone areas can help local governments and public be better prepared

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) hopes to get a better idea of which populated areas of the regional district are at risk of flooding.

At their Feb. 21 meeting, the regional district’s board approved an application for a grant which will allow them to turn data into maps showing flood-prone areas.

The $150,000 in funding the CSRD is applying for will assist with a mapping project that is already underway across the entire Thompson watershed under the guidance of the Fraser Basin Council and Kamloops-based BGC Engineering.

Read more: Back to flooding in the Shuswap

CSRD protective services team leader Derek Sutherland said the maps will help with modelling what areas are at risk from lake levels experienced in 1972 and 2012. He said up-to-date modelling is important for planning mitigation work and emergency response because some areas near Salmon Arm and Sicamous are less prone to flooding than they once were thanks to work that has already been done.

Sutherland hopes the maps will be integrated with the CSRD’s existing online mapping system and he sees no reason why they won’t be made available to the public if there is value for them.

“From an emergency management perspective we ask people to know the risks and be prepared. This information will help with that,” he said.

Read more: CSRD to map Bastion Mountain to better understand landslide risk

The data which will be compiled into flood screening maps includes light detection and ranging (Lidar) surveys gathered by the CSRD, the provincial government and private businesses who are willing to share their findings for the mapping project.

Although the Thompson watershed is the primary focus of the project, Sutherland’s report to the CSRD board delivered at the Feb. 21 meeting indicates areas of the Columbia watershed east of Three Valley Gap will also be mapped.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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