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Vanderhoof Mayor not panicking over rising water levels on Nechako River

Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen isn’t concerned quite yet over the rising water levels seen in the Nechako River.

The BC River Forecast issued a High Streamflow Advisory noting ongoing snowmelt runoff in the west-central part of the province.

Despite this, Thiessen is cautiously optimistic.

“The last report we had is that the local water in the low-lying areas the snowpack had melted. We are in good shape, we know that there is still a significant amount of water in the higher mountains, up in the reservoir area.”

“We have seen some significant rise in water levels in the river and the amount of water that has come through. At this point, we as a community are not overly concerned but we are being very careful and watching it. Certainly, things are changing day by day and we are going to be watching it very closely over the next two weeks as we are going through these warmer temperatures. We ask people to be very careful.”

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Thiessen added it’s been an odd year when it comes to spring flooding – but it has also given the district time to reflect on how they can best respond to potential flooding events in the future.

“This year it has gone later and later but it has also been a year where we have had some other challenges we’ve been working with and trying to understand if there is a better way to for a better flow regime and I think what this is telling is to be very careful and mindful of what we are doing and what we are trying to work with.”

In June of 2015, Vanderhoof dealt with a flooding event that lasted several weeks due to rising levels from the Nechako River.

Thiessen sees some similarities in this situation compared to what was experienced seven years ago.

“In 2015, when we had our last high-water event we saw this almost happen a month earlier where we went with a very low chance of flooding, and then all of a sudden during the May long weekend there was a report where we were going to have some challenges.”

Rivers are expected to see gradual rises with flows up to 5-year levels possible for the weekend.

The public is advised to stay clear of the fast-flowing rivers and potentially unstable riverbanks during this period.

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