The public is asked to exercise caution, and prepare for localized flooding as water levels in Nicola Lake, the Nicola River and surrounding streams increase due to rapid snowmelt and recent high temperatures.
The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations operates Nicola Lake dam and regulates the water levels on Nicola Lake. To create space in Nicola Lake from snowmelt and precipitation, the ministry has been releasing higher than normal rates of water from Nicola Lake dam into the Nicola River, which flows through Merritt and Lower Nicola.
Because inflows to Nicola Lake are higher than the controlled outflows, Nicola Lake is expected to keep rising for the next seven to 10 days. Flows in Nicola River are expected to rise and remain high for at least two to three weeks.
Residents next to the lake should expect some shoreline flooding. The public is advised to prepare for possible flooding of low-lying areas by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground, where possible.
During periods of high flow, river banks may be unstable and more prone to sudden collapse. The public is advised to stay well away from the banks of fast flowing streams and flooded areas or bridges. Young children and pets can be at particular risk during this period.
Although the ministry is actively managing Nicola Lake Dam to minimize negative impacts both upstream and downstream of the dam, residents should be aware that unforeseen adverse weather conditions may affect water levels and flow forecasts, and result in some degree of flooding along the length of the river.
For more information on flood prevention and flood response, visit: http://embc.gov.bc.ca/em/floods/preparedness.html
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations