KAMLOOPS — The Fraser Basin Council is set to embark on a massive flood assessment of the Thompson watershed.
To that end it's received a grant worth $600,000 from Emergency Management BC and hopes to start work in April.
"We're looking at the entire Thompson watershed. So, it's a huge area including the Bonaparte Platueau - including 100 Mile and the areas up on Highway 24," says Senior Regional Manager Mike Simpson. "That all drains into the North Thompson. We're looking at the North Thompson watershed, the boundaries of the watershed, which almost go as far as Valemount."
He says they are also looking at the Shuswap watershed which drains into the South Thompson as well as the Nicola and the Bonaparte watersheds. The whole watershed drains into the Fraser at Lytton.
"We understand as well that there are some local governments and First Nations that may also be doing some floodplain mapping for risk assessments - especially after last year's flood impacts - and that's fine. We're looking at the entire watershed to fill in the gaps."
Simpson says the purpose of the work is to have "an objective, overall current look at where the areas are at risk for flooding."
"Where do we have values? Where are people living and where's our critical infrastructure?," he says. "Generally we tend to live in the valley bottoms and with a changing climate we're seeing more uncertainty around floods and debris flows. We want to have a really good understanding of where all the different values are that we need to protect and what areas are most likely to be impacted by flood and debris flows."
Simpson says the next step, once the flood assessment is complete by March 2019, will be to update their floodplain maps.
"Our floodplain maps are 30-40 years old. There's been a lot of change in rivers and development over the years. There's also new technology that we can have more accurate floodplain maps."
He says they plan to apply for a grant to do that work next year.
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