Penticton’s EOC prepares for spring freshet flood risk

News Release

The City of Penticton’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is taking proactive measures to prepare for any potential flood risk during the spring freshet.

Planning has begun to address expected flooding issues on Ellis Creek. The EOC is closely monitoring snowpack and water flows and crews have begun making sandbags for use at culverts, bridges and along the top of the creek bank at select locations. Action plans have also been created to ensure swift and effective response amid COVID-19. 

“Ellis Creek has been identified as a potential flood location and we are ready to respond proactively. We have developed detailed plans and we’re getting ready to begin work on the creeks,” said Penticton Fire Chief and EOC Deputy Director, Larry Watkinson. “If you are a resident of Penticton and have experienced flooding in previous years, especially along Ellis Creek, it’s time to start planning now.”

The City is also monitoring Penticton Creek water flow, and as flows increase, daily and nightly inspections will be conducted in known trouble spots. Flooding at Okanagan Lake is not anticipated to be an issue due to advance work completed by the Province of BC to lower the lake level. The EOC will continue to track snowpack, temperatures, precipitation and weather forecasts and monitor the 2020 flood situation during regular flood calls. 

The City is contacting residents and land owners adjacent to Ellis and Penticton Creeks to warn them of the potential flood risk and has asked those on Ellis Creek in areas where bank erosion is an issue to move their personal items away from the river banks. A self-serve sandbag facility has also been set up at Fire Hall No. 202 (285 Dawson Avenue) for people to fill their own bags.

Residents are reminded to keep a safe distance away from the creeks, which are expected to move dangerously fast as water volumes increase. 

For more information about the freshet, as well as emergency preparedness tips, please visit the City’s Flood Preparedness & Response website page at


Larry Watkinson
Fire Chief & EOC Deputy Director
Penticton Fire Department 

Philip Cooper
Communication Manager
City of Penticton