Osoyoos Lake reaches peak levels after 2024’s melt ends

The spring melt has largely ended and the lake remains under drought conditions
View of Osoyoos Lake looking north from Oroville, WA. Photo courtesy Neil Bousquet/Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society)
Spring freshet has mostly come to an end and Osoyoos Lake has reached its peak water level for 2024, according to the water control board. 

The International Osoyoos Lake Board of Control is planning to keep the levels as high as possible and as long as possible due to ongoing drought conditions. 

The water level in the lake peaked at 912.44 feet on May 22, and as of June 16 stood at 912.18 feet or 278.03 metres.

According to the board, the snow pack had fully melted at lower elevations a month earlier than usual, while higher elevations stayed snowy due to a cooler-than-usual May. 

Now, the freshet has largely tapered off, as the Okanagan and Similkameen basin’s low snow levels, between 49-86 percent and 32-62 percent of normal conditions respectively, have melted. 

In April, the flow forecast for the Similkameen River at Nighthawk and the forecasted net inflow of Okanagan Lake for April-July were both expected to be at levels low enough for a drought declaration.

The required flow for the Similkameen River is 1,230,000 megalitres under the International Joint Commission Order of Approval, and the forecast has it at 812,000 megalitres for April-July.

With the drought declaration in place, the Zosel Dam located in Washington State will keep the water level as close to a designated 912.5 feet level as possible until Nov. 1 or a time when the board determines there are no longer drought conditions.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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