Floods matter. People whose homes are inundated or damaged will remember for the rest of their lives; landscapes are changed forever; regional and national economies suffer. With climate change driving up the frequency and intensity of flooding and other natural hazards, the risks and impacts to Canada’s economic vitality, infrastructure, environment, and citizens will only continue to grow. The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is no stranger to flood damages, having experienced them on our rivers and lakes in recent years.
The RDCO is building on two earlier phases of work to prepare a flood mitigation plan with a focus on non-structural approaches (e.g., policies, programs, initiatives). Scroll down to learn more about non-structural mitigation.
The objectives of this project are to:
- Reduce flood risk
- Improve emergency response
- Increase resiliency to climate change
By the end of the project (October 2021), we’ll have developed a Flood Mitigation Plan that identifies the best approaches to build local resilience and reduce risk.
Thank you to those who participated in our Community Conversations and online survey. We greatly appreciate your input! Please stay tuned for the draft plan and other project updates this fall (2021)
Water doesn’t follow jurisdictional boundaries. While the focus of this project is on the Central Okanagan, we are working with partners up and down the Okanagan Valley to build on a watershed-wide approach to flood mitigation.
The project includes an extensive outreach component to local governments, Syilx communities, stakeholders, and the public to ensure that the proposed mitigation options are acceptable and supported. We’re also working with neighbourhood groups, community associations, and other local organizations and service providers to engage them in the project.
Importantly, we want to hear from you! There will be various chances to provide input throughout the process, so stay tuned for opportunities to get involved.
Non-structural Flood Mitigation
Effective flood management requires implementing a range of mitigation options, rather than relying solely on traditional structures such as dikes or dams.
So called non-structural options play an important role in reducing risk and improving flood resiliency and include:
Land stewardship – maintaining and restoring natural areas (e.g., watersheds, wetlands, riparian areas, natural waterways) to help reduce downstream flooding.
Land use management - encouraging or requiring types of land use in flood hazard areas that will prevent or reduce potential damage. For example, a green space would be less affected by flooding than a new sub-division.
Building management - regulations and strategies that make structures and belongings less susceptible to flood damage. For example, using flood-resistant materials for the ground floor of a building.
Education and awareness – Homeowner guides, flood and climate change education, neighbourhood preparedness programs, and other learning resources.
Emergency response - early warning systems, temporary barriers, and other flood response programs.
Insurance and disaster financial assistance - managing financial risks where no other mitigation strategies are available.
For more information, please contact:
Brittany Lange, BSc, EPt
Environmental Planner | Community Services
Regional District of Central Okanagan
250-469-6227 | firstname.lastname@example.org