Dams spilling over

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Dams spilling over

Post by ferri »

Dams in the Regional District of North Okanagan are spilling over – but there is no need to worry.

“Dams are designed to spill into the natural waterways once the reservoirs are full, to protect against the dam overtopping. This is the normal function of dams and reservoirs, and our staff closely monitor this process,” says Zee Marcolin, general manager of utilities.

“A dam spilling is very different from a dam breaching. We know there have been some reports that the dam breached, but that is not true. A dam breach would be an emergency situation, while the dam spilling is a routine function that occurs every spring when the snow melts.”

The RDNO has multiple dams that function to hold water in reservoir lakes before it makes its way to treatment facilities and then to your tap.

Reservoirs are vital for storing water for use in drier summer months, but they only hold a limited volume.

More here:
https://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/29 ... eek-levels
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Re: Dams spilling over

Post by occasional thoughts »

I don't want to guess, someone please explain the difference between spilling and breaching. I understand the notion of a dam "failing" which would mean collapsing I assume. But breaching vs. spilling?

Do we all remember that summer day some years ago when a dam high in the hills south of Oliver spilled or breached or failed (?) and a wall of water poured down the hillside and over Highway 97 . . . luckily nobody injured? That was deemed to have originated with some sort of neglect of the state of dams in our hills. The province expressed concern about the state of our dams; betcha not much was done.
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Re: Dams spilling over

Post by TylerM4 »

Spilling simply means that you've lost ability to control the amount of of water flowing past/through the dam. When a dam is spilling, it's usually because it's full and has no more ability to "hold" water in the dam, the same amount of water coming into the dam reservoir is going past the dam and downstream. All dams are designed with this in mind, hence the creation of "spillways" for example. Spilling is essentially a process where water is released from the dam in a semi-controlled way because the alternative is breaching (an uncontrolled process of releasing water, often damaging or destroying the dam in the process and generally releasing far more water than desired)

This article frankly sucks. They do mention "No need to worry, dams are designed to do this". But it's still artificial drama to cause anxiety and bring in readers. The reality is that dams spill every year. The bigger concern would be if they weren't spilling. That would mean that the reservoirs aren't full and we could be facing a water shortage later in summer. Really this should be sold as a good news "The reservoirs are full" story. Instead it's been slanted to look bad and draw in readers only to say "Don't worry, it's OK".

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