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Runoff Report 1999.....Introduction

The Shuswap Lake Spring Flood Research Project was started early 1999 with the goal to create a computer based local flood forecast system for the Shuswap Lake watershed.

At this point I like to express my special thanks to
  • Environment Canada
  • BC Hydro (Revelstoke)
  • District of Salmon Arm
  • City of Enderby
  • CKXR Radio (Salmon Arm)
  • Beachcomber Resort (Sicamous)
  • Emergency Coordinator (Columbia Shuswap Regional District)
  • Ministry of Forests (Salmon Arm Office)
  • BC Ministry of Fisheries (Victoria)
  • BC Ministry for Environment (Victoria)

for their excellent (and still ongoing) cooperation and assistance.

The following runoff report is based on flow data and level readings from the Shuswap Lake and its major streams. Own lake level readings on Mara Lake were used to draw the first predictions during the runoff. Those measurements were taken at 9:00AM and 8:00PM with a much higher precision than the gauge readings to separate lake level changes during day and night.

Gauge readings for the streams are usually automatically taken every 15 minutes as water levels and converted into water flow data. Those 192 data per day then disappear into Environment Canada's database after calculating the daily mean values. As frustrating and disappointing as it was I only had access to those daily mean data without to buy direct access to the gauges. A few $1000 per month seemed to be far beyond of what I was willing to spend given by the non-profit character of this research. I better don't voice my opinion any further in this respect to avoid the risk of getting even less in the future. As hard as it is....!

Limited data access translates into limiting the possibilities of this research. For the last 6 month I was continuously scaling down my research which clearly reflects in this report. In fact, this report is by far the most miserable piece of work I have ever done. Therefore I will not continue with this research. Maybe in the future I will start again - if government policies are going to change.

This runoff report analyses the snow water flow in relation to weather conditions. Insufficient data does not allow conclusions about the snow melt progress in different altitudes, detailed runoff timetables, inclusion of topographic properties, and so on. It also doesn't allow any links of water levels to previous flood occurrences, what really troubles me the most because it was never done for the Shuswap Lake region. The existing flood plain maps are simply based on topographic altitudes in steps of 20-m height differences, not including actual flood events and precise spill points. For the Shuswap Lake itself not even that is existent. And because flood events are not catalogued for this purpose, nobody can provide that information yet. So much to the value of flood warnings! I contacted the BC Premier as well as the BC Minister for Environment, Lands and Parks, in this respect, but was told that there are no resources available for this task. And because the existing flood reports are treated like a top-secret department treasure nobody can have a look at it. Maybe a real disaster in the future will bring some changes here.

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Copyright (C) 2003 Bernhard Kramer, Sicamous, BC - Canada