Concerns of rising water levels in the Nicola Valley became a reality for two local bands over the weekend.
The Upper Nicola Band (UNB) is experiencing flooding at the Hamilton Creek reserve and the Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB)’s Joeyaska reserve is at-risk to a similar situation.
UNB declared a state of emergency on April 29 for Hamilton Creek IR#2 due to the Quilchena Creek flooding the area. One home is currently affected according to Emergency Coordinator Collette Sunday, and the residents are on evacuation notice.
Sunday stressed UNB is prepared for what’s to come this flooding season.
“Definitely we’re prepared. We’ve been taking some refreshers in terms of capacity development. We have our emergency operations centre open here, and we have an active team,” she said. “So at this time we’re just monitoring water levels and ensuring that we’re prepared for the warmer weather that we know is coming our way.”
LNIB issued an evacuation alert for Joeyaska IR#2 on April 27 due to the potential flooding of Godey Creek. The alert instructs residents to prepare their essential possessions such as medicine and clothing should an evacuation order become necessary, and remains in place until May 3 unless cancelled by the band.
The B.C. government explained in a press release that water levels are rising in the Interior due to increased precipitation, an above average snowpack and increased snowmelt. Officials are urging caution and encouraging the public to prepare for localized flooding.
Their recommendations include staying clear of shorelines, recognizing danger signs such as water level or colour change, avoid driving or walking through flood water, moving possessions such as electronics to upper floors in the home, and parking vehicles away from waterways.
A high stream flow advisory remains in place for tributaries in the Nicola Valley.