LETTER: Water woes in South OK need big picture solution

A letter writer in Twin Lake area thinks big picture thinking is solution to water problems

To the Editor:

The Twin Lake water level is always guided/ordered by the Ministry to protect down stream. How long, when and at what rate water maybe released from Twin Lake is provided. Unfortunately, the climate (snow pack, precipitation and timing of rains is unpredictable).

In 2017 and 2018, Twin Lakes was used as a reservoir to protect downstream Willowbrook and Sportsman Bowl – the never- before- observed Twin Lake 8-feet of flood water was costly both to B.C. Emergency Measures and to residents – 54 out of 69 properties around Lower Twin Lake were impacted by water, not just the nine properties behind the sand bagged Heco Bins. Many who were flooded at Twin Lake have no compensation for damages.

However, our concern must be about the spring of 2019. Rather than blaming, we must learn about the watersheds of the four creeks feeding into the wetland called Myers Flat, and the five creeks feeding Sportsman Bowl. What about land use allowed on flood plains or development allowed on recharge limited areas?

Lower Horn Creek, which should run from the Twin Lake overflow outlet, was closed by ranchers 58 years ago to control their gravity feed irrigation before power was added to this area..Twin Lake is on a waterway but with the overflow outlet to Lower Horn Creek closed in 1960 with 20-feet of fill, this allowed the lake to be used as a reservoir, which it is not. Old 1930 to 1990 water licenses still govern the waterway. The watersheds of Horn Creek, Myers Creek and Orofino Creek, must be considered. Orofino Mountain had an unusually large snow pack and many washouts up in the Mountain occurred.

Twin Lake flooded and water was held in Twin Lake about a month after Willowbrook/Sportsman Bowl had flooded. It sounds like the down gradient residents think the water should still be stored in Twin Lake – it had to be released before more water enters in the spring of 2019.

There are many problems in the Park Rill catchment – such as drainage maintenance, restoring creek beds, updating water licenses, stopping development on flood planes and approvals,allowing increased water use in recharge limited areas. Providing water storage.in wet years to off set the 10-plus dry year water cycles, which historically plague the Okanagan Valley is an important aspect of fixing the waterway. Thus again, look at the big picture so not to be short sighted.

We all need changes for next spring and the springs of the future.

Coral Brown

Twin Lake

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