16th June, 2022
Heavy rain throughout the southern interior means that more water is heading for Nicola Lake, and in order to safely manage these flows, the dam on Nicola Lake will be opened further today (June 16th, 2022). This will increase the water flow in the Nicola River through Merritt, the water level will rise, and the water will be flowing fast.
The City of Merritt and the dam operator are working closely together to ensure that the lake and City can both safely manage the water levels. The dam operator will target a maximum of 37 cubic metres of water per second (m^3/s) coming out of the dam.
There will be less water coming through Merritt than we had last weekend, when we did not see overland flooding (some fields in agricultural areas near the river did fill with water due to the increased flows). We also took more water per second in the spring of 2020, when again we did not see overland flooding. For these reasons, we do not expect to see flooding as a result of this gate change.
Nicola Lake acts as a buffer for the City. If the dam were not there, the river would rise and fall in direct response to increased rainfall (this is why the Coldwater can change its level a lot, as there are no dams on that river). By stretching the higher flows out, we protect Merritt from these sudden changes.
Our advice remains:
- Residents of low lying areas should be using their sump pumps
- All residents have access to free sand and bags in the parking lot opposite Merritt Civic Centre for their peace of mind
- Follow the City’s website, social media channels, and VoyentAlert! To be informed of any changes
- Stay away from river banks, as the water is high and fast
- Emergency Preparedness is year-round. Have a 72-hour kit ready, and talk to your family about what your emergency plan looks like
We will keep you informed of changes in the river level.