Skip to content

Salmon Arm looking good as low river levels accommodate rains

Regional district still recommends residents take steps to prepare for emergencies
Salmon Arm has been fortunate so far this season in terms of effects from weather. (Black Press Media file)

So far so good for Salmon Arm in the wake of the pummelling from precipitation B.C. has been experiencing.

No flooding nor road washouts were reported to the city as of Nov. 15.

While a few catch basins have not been performing well, that’s mostly due to leaves caught on top, said Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works.

Because the Salmon River was so low this summer, it hasn’t risen to dangerous heights.

“There’s lots of capacity in the channel,” he remarked.

One unknown could be the effect of rain on the tops of hills.

“With logging and everything else, there could be some sloughing and debris, but that might happen farther up the valley,” Niewenhuizen added.

While sewage has contaminated some water supplies in B.C. during the flooding, he said it won’t happen in Salmon Arm. That’s because the town doesn’t have combined systems where the storm water system is in the sanitary sewer. He said those pairings date back to the 1960s and ’70s.

“We had some along the TCH when I first got here and we resolved those; the storm water actually ran into the sanitary sewer so it would all go through the (sewage treatment) plant.”

He said combining the two can potentially be a big problem for towns that get inundated by rainfall. Their lagoons and systems can’t keep up with the volume of flows.

In the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), a most notable problem from the rains came in the form of rocks and water on Highway 1 between Sicamous and Revelstoke. They temporarily closed the roadway on Monday, Nov. 15.

The CSRD issued reminders Monday about how to prepare for emergencies, emphasizing the need to be prepared for flooding or landslides, especially in areas previously hit by wildfires.

Reminders include:

• Stay informed and sign up for Alertable emergency notifications at;

• Be ready with emergency supplies at home and in your car;

• Watch for warning signs such as an increase in the height and intensity of water flows, land slippage, debris in creeks, colour changes in water or leaning trees;

• Listen for unusual sounds like tree trunks cracking or boulders knocking together;

• Know that the banks of rivers and streams may be unstable and dangerous. Stay away and be sure to keep children and pets out of those areas;

• Report any culverts that appear to be obstructed with debris to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure online at:

To report a flooding incident involving immediate danger to life, you’re asked to call 911. All other flooding incidents can be reported to the 24/7 Provincial Emergency Reporting Line at 1-800-663-3456.

Read more: Salmon Arm couple stays hopeful while stranded in Hope

Read more: Reception centre opened in Salmon Arm for Merritt evacuees
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Martha Wickett

About the Author: Martha Wickett

came to Salmon Arm in May of 2004 to work at the Observer. I was looking for a change from the hustle and bustle of the Lower Mainland, where I had spent more than a decade working in community newspapers.
Read more