Flood mapping underway in Okanagan


Close to 1.5 million dollars is going towards flood map imaging in the Okanagan.

The hope is it will protect the area from future flooding.

The radar technology will create a digital 3-D map of the landscape to help with flood response planning and disaster mitigation.

Okanagan Basin Water Board Executive Director Anna Warwick Sears explains how the LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology works.

"The plane flies over the landscape. There is a radar beam that is shooting down at the ground and then it bounces back up and hits a receptor on the bottom of the airplane. What it does is it creates a very detailed image of the landscape below it".    

Warwick Sears says the images will help determine how much water can be expected while pinpointing vulnerable areas.      

"We wished we had done it five years ago. The big turning point was the floods in Calgary and it really changed how nationally people were thinking about flood mapping and the importance of being able to predict these things".        

Shaun Reimer with the Ministry of Lands and Forests was asked if the technology had been used prior to last spring, would it have helped prevent historic flooding.

"It would have helped local governments identify the most vulnerable place. It would have to prioritize resources and I think that would have been very useful."

The LiDAR technology has started in the South Okanagan. 

Once the snow melts in July, the remainder of the water shed will be completed..  

The flight mapping data should be available by the end of the year.