British Columbia

Keremeos residents asked to limit water use to avoid overloading sewer system during high water flows

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is warning of high water flows in the Village of Keremeos, B.C., and is asking residents to limit water use in order to ease the strain on the town's sewer system.

Emergency officials expecting high water flows in coming days in the Similkameen region

In May 2018, Keremeos Creek breached its banks between the Village of Keremeos and Cawston. (@EmergMgtRDOS/Twitter)

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is warning of high water flows in the Village of Keremeos, B.C., and authorities are asking residents to limit water use in order to ease the strain on the town's sewer system.

Both the Similkameen River and Keremeos Creek have the potential to rise significantly in the coming days, according to the RDOS Emergency Operations Centre.

That could result in rising groundwater in low-lying areas near rivers, creeks and other drainage areas, says RDCO Board Chair Karla Kozakevich.

"Currently we are anticipating that the rivers and creeks might be rising more due to snow pack melt and potential rain events that may be coming," she said.

Emergency officials are concerned that the high water table could put stress on Keremeos's sewer system and they are asking people living in the community to limit their water use.

"There is no panic here," said Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer.

"However we want to make sure that we are prepared in case we do get unexpected, extraordinary higher groundwater levels like we had a couple of years ago."

The RDCO Emergency Operations Centre is advising people in the town take the following measures to reduce water use:

  • Flush toilets only when necessary.

  • Take brief showers instead of baths if possible and don't leave water running when not needed.

  • When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the tap running.

  • Only run dishwashers on quick cycles when full.

  • Run washers on low water settings where possible.

  • Water gardens by hand.

  • If you experience crawlspace flooding, pump into storm sewer if possible.

The measures should also be considered for people whose homes are on septic systems, which have the potential to stop working if flooded, said Kozakevich.

Officials are also advising homeowners to check their basements and crawl spaces for water seeping in due to the high water table.

Groundwater is expected to rise over the long weekend and then start to recede within the next week or two.

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