Flood Review

Re: Flood Review

Postby DGMOK » May 17th, 2018, 2:09 pm

Sean Reimer predicted the lake would peak at 10 to 25 cm over full pool and Pentiction EOC predicting 52 cm above full pool.
That is a 27 cm or almost 11" difference.
Would sure be nice to see a current prediction.
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » May 17th, 2018, 10:53 pm

Published in the Summerland Community Review is a forecast of the Okanagan Lake level from the Ministry responsible for lake management:

Summerland bulletin.JPG
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Re: Flood Review

Postby Frisk » May 17th, 2018, 11:56 pm

Hearing 343m gives me deja vu.
For comparison the lake level was 342.91m on May 23rd last year during the windstorm that damaged docks and shoreline properties.
You've got to have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come.
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » May 27th, 2018, 6:24 pm

Deja Vous?

We could not have avoided the flood preparation costs for creek and river floods, BUT we could have avoided the lake-front preparation costs very easily if lake managers had simply followed the established legislation and operating rules. If they had, the lake would be at most 10 cm above Full Pool by the time it peaks (instead of the predicted 32 cm above) and we could have avoided the worry and cost related to lake levels.

Below is a very short extract of the Rules form the Symonds (2000) report where he summarized the Canada-British Columbia Okanagan Basin Agreement and the rules that evolved from it. These rules are for a normal freshet and an extreme freshet, as in this year. The rules clearly state they should have drawn down the lake by up to 30 cm more than they did. Then the lake would only be slightly above Full Pool instead of at a threatening level with little room for any contingency like more rain.

Rules pic 3 May 27.png

Rules pic 4 May 27.png

For more detail see my full post in the “Monitoring lake level to prevent flood” forum.
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » May 31st, 2018, 9:12 pm

Fish friendly computer modelling of lake levels … Vision vs Reality

The vision for the Fish Water Management Tool (FWMT) forecasting model is highlighted below in an excerpt from their academic research paper.

The reality was a back-to-back disaster of severe flood in 2017 and an almost-flood in 2018 that was averted only because of a record dry month in May. They used this model to alter how they interpreted the historically reliable Lake Operating Rules summarized in the Symonds (2000) report.

FWMT pic 1 May 31.png

The FWMT is a real-time decision support system for evaluating the consequences of alternative releases from Okanagan Lake Dam at Penticton. This “fish friendly” model won an award from the Province in 2008. It is a collaboration of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development and Douglas County Public Utility District.

Brian Guy’s 2017 Flood Review tells how a new version of this forecasting model was brought into use:
“The legacy FWMT model worked successfully for 12 years, and in 2014 work began on upgrading it. …. The upgraded FWMT model was ready for use in the fall of 2016, so none of the FWMT team had experience with it in spring of 2017, and it was run as a prototype basis in which the results were interpreted with caution”.

Despite saying they used the model’s result with caution, Brian Guy’s report states that in March 2017 the FWMT was, in fact, used as the relevant comparison for the actual lake level, when they should have compared the lake level to the Operating Rules that are based on 80 years of experience. According to the FWMT model, the lake was only 11 cm too high in February 2017 but according to the Operating Rules, it was actually 21 cm too high, even taking into account the below-average snow pack. To correct the error caused by the FWMT model, they should have increased the outflow close to the maximum rate for all of February.

Although Brian Guy states that the local Water Manager (Shaun Reimer) was responsible for managing the system, (see quote below from his report), if you listen to the June 2017 video interview with Kim Hyatt of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, it is very clear who was giving the directions. “In early spring, Federal Fisheries asked Reimer to wait to discharge more water from the dam until sockeye eggs hatched downstream near Oliver”. Kim Hyatt stated that Reimer had to do that to maintain compliance with the Okanagan Basin Agreement. However, the Operating Rules in the Okanagan Basin Agreement required them to draw the lake down to a considerably lower level, as explained in the paragraph above.

FWMT pic 2 May 31.png

See the video “Okanagan Lake was not lowered soon enough to protect fish”. Mr. Hyatt misquoted what the Rules actually required, given the RFC forecast at that time and the fact that the lake was already well above the levels it should have been in April 2017 and the result was a disaster.
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » Jun 4th, 2018, 9:36 pm

Fish vs Flood continued…
Response by Brian Guy & Okanagan Nation Alliance to media coverage on the changing priorities to fish production vs flood protection.

Brian Guy continues to make his case in presentations subsequent to his 2017 Flood Review report. See link below.
http://www.obwb.ca/newsite/wp-content/u ... 17_web.pdf

Here is the most relevant quote from his presentation:
Jun 4 pic 1.JPG

The Okanagan Nation Alliance takes the same position. Below is a link their formal statement.
https://www.syilx.org/fish-water-manage ... evels-faq/

Here is the most relevant quote from their presentation:
Jun 4 pic 2.JPG

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is part of the Canadian Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group, who are trying to make the official Lake Operating Rules more “Fish Friendly”. Along with Kim Hyatt of Fisheries & Oceans and other members, this group has worked on modifying the original Rules (primarily through the FWMT model) for over 10 years now. The disasters of 2017 and 2018 have verified that keeping the lake levels higher than the historic norms only creates unacceptable flood risks.

The Summit Environmental study pointed out these risks in 2002 (see quote below) and Kim Hyatt has referenced that fact in many of his papers. Despite this, the FWMT team thought they could overcome the risks, and the politicians, with support from their technical advisors, ended up causing back-to-back disasters the past two years. Common sense has shown that the original Rules, without excess focus on fish production, is the best way to balance the needs of all parties, as outlined in the previous post.
Jun 4 pic 3.JPG

Having said that, let me emphasize that fish production is an important and worthy goal for everyone – but not at the expense of taxpayers, property owners and tourism operators. We are told by the CBC that sockeye fishery in normal season contributes $400,000 to the local economy. We need to compare those benefits with the many millions ($20 mil was reported for 2017 alone) in costs for flood preparation, damage repair and recovery, as well as business losses.
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » Jun 5th, 2018, 8:38 pm

Lake level is a minor risk for fish compared with the risks from nature

For the past 10 years the FWMT Team has been tinkering with the Lake Operating Rules, thereby increasing flood risk, to promote fish production. However, fine tuning the lake level is a minor factor compared with a natural event that can be catastrophic to fish survival. In 2015, for example, all their gains were lost in one year, due to the water being too warm down at the main dam in the USA. Below is a link to a news article on the sockeye collapse, published in July 2015 and updated in May 2018:
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/br ... e25769695/

Jun 6 pic 1.JPG

During the lead up to the freshet, the FWMT model is designed to keep the lake level higher than the Rules permit, to prevent fish egg scour along the Okanagan River. However, fish egg scour is a minor risk compared to what happened in 2015 where they lost 90% of the sockeye run. Accordingly, there is no need to expose people around Okanagan Lake to excess flood risk using the FWMT model and its derivatives. Let’s get back to the original Lake Operating Rules and have properly trained Lake Managers following these Rules. (Lack of a succession plan for Shaun Reimer – as noted in Brian Guy’s report – is a subject for another post).
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » Jun 6th, 2018, 9:19 pm

Fish vs Flood – How did all this start?

The Columbia River Treaty required utilities in the USA to mitigate the environmental impact of their dams, and it was less costly for the Douglas County Public Utility to “mitigate” by increasing fish production in the Okanagan System instead of in the Columbia River, where they would have had to build expensive fish ladders for the salmon. (See excerpts from Kim Hyatt’s report below).
Jun 6 post 1.png

The report states that a USA utility provided funding to the Okanagan Native Alliance to reintroduce sockeye into Okanagan Lake.
Jun 6 post 2.png

The USA utility decided 10 years ago to save costs by increasing the production of Okanagan sockeye instead of building ladders to improve fish movement through the Columbia River System. Kim Hyatt has reported that the sockeye runs have grown in the period from 2003 through 2014, thereby meeting the regulatory requirements of the USA utilities. That means they continue to profit by generating electricity at lower costs while adding more flood risk for local residents on Okanagan Lake. And now, after all the work by the ONA and Canadian officials to achieve their goal, it appears they intend to lobby to reduce the benefits to Canada (mostly BC) under the Columbia River Treaty. (See below for link and excerpt for their 2015-2019 strategic plan).
https://www.chelanpud.org/docs/default- ... 5-2019.pdf

Jun 6 Chelan Utility.JPG
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Re: Flood Review

Postby andrea-lake » Jun 7th, 2018, 7:25 pm

About the Colombia River Treaty…
In an article last year, Anna Warwick Sears, executive director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, denied that the Columbia River Treaty had any impact on our floods. (See link and excerpt below).
https://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton ... -on-floods
Treaty no impact on floods
Canada-USA quote 2 Warwick.JPG

However that statement is not supported by several official reports nor by the following schematic, from an ONA presentation October 14, 2015. Follow the yellow line connecting the Douglas County Public Utility District (DCPUD) under the Columbia River Treaty to the Canada Okanagan Basin Technical Working Group (COBTWG) that designed the Fish Water Management Tool (FWMT).

Canada-USA fish water chaart.jpg

The red arrow is the start of the process discussed in my previous post. The FERC regulatory process requires USA utilities to mitigate the environmental impact of their dams. (See quote from one of those utilities):

“We must ensure a high level of fish survival and mitigate with hatchery production and habitat protection to offset all impacts of dam operations”

To achieve their goal of increasing sockeye production in the Okanagan System instead of building expensive fish ladders in the Columbia River System, the USA utilities needed political support in Canada. They started with funding a project by the ONA to enhance sockeye production. Then, with more federally regulated fish in the Okanagan, the Department of Fisheries & Oceans got involved. That led to a collaboration with the Douglas County Public Utility District and the FLNROR Ministry of BC to develop the FWMT, a “fish friendly” model to forecast lake levels.

The outcome was increased flood risks - in contravention of the principles behind the Rules embedded in the operative ACT, i.e. the Okanagan Basin Agreement. (Brian Guy's 2017 Flood Review report verified that the Act is still valid).

However, the BC Ministry responsible for managing the Lake, influenced by federal fish biologists, changed the long-standing interpretation of the Rules, making them more “fish friendly”, in support of the USA utilities’ goals. By simply using the FWMT forecasts, they’ve been able to avoid the public debate required to modify the legislation. They have quietly changed the original priorities that balanced all interests on the Lake and tilted the priorities in favour of the fish. They did so (despite warnings from Lake Managers and even their own consultants) without clearly informing the public that they were making changes that increased the flood risks.
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