Thompson Watershed Risk Assessment
A Disaster Mitigation Project on the Risks of Flood, Landslide and Debris Flows
The blue waters of the Thompson River meet the sediment-rich brown flow of the Fraser River at Lytton – an iconic scene. Photo: Picture BC/Province of British Columbia
The Fraser Basin Council is leading a risk assessment on flood, landslide and debris flows throughout the Thompson River watershed – including the North Thompson, South Thompson, Nicola, Bonaparte and Thompson Rivers (from Kamloops to the Fraser/Thompson confluence at Lytton).
The review comes at an important time. Over the last two decades, there have been high peak river flows in the watershed during spring freshet, as well as intense summer rain storms with flash floods in some locations, and winter ice jams in others.
The risk assessment will identify flood hazards, potential impacts, and community and infrastructure vulnerabilities as well as the overall flood risk profile for the region. The aim is to raise awareness, support mitigation planning and action, and reduce the magnitude of future emergencies.
Formally launched February 14, 2018, the risk assessment is managed by FBC’s Thompson Regional Office. Work is expected to complete in March 2019. For a look at a summary and presentations from the launch event, see Risk Assessment Background below.
This initiative will bring together representatives of large cities, small municipalities, rural areas and First Nations communities – with the intention of identifying common risks and opportunities to work together across the watershed. Over 200,000 live in the Thompson watershed, which spans 5.6 million hectares.
FBC will compile data from previous risk assessments of the past 15 years, and fill in information gaps to have a consistent, regional-scale approach across the watershed. Another component is to identify flood mapping and mitigation planning that is completed or underway.
The Thompson Watershed Risk Assessment falls within Stream 1 (Risk Assessment) of the National Disaster Mitigation Program. Other streams are: Stream 2 (Flood Mapping); Stream 3 (Mitigation Planning); Stream 4 (Investments in Non-structural and Small Scale Structural Mitigation Projects). The assessment is funded in equal parts by Emergency Management BC and Public Safety Canada.
See our overview brochure.
An Advisory Committee to the Thompson Watershed Risk Assessment has been established — with representation from elected officials and staff from local government, First Nations and the province of BC. The Committee has met twice to date. See the Committee's Terms of Reference.
An interim deliverable in the risk assessment is a report from BGC Engineering Inc. that sets out a list of candidate project areas for which to pursue funding under the National Disaster Mitigation Program (NDMP) - Stream 2 in 2019/20. The funding would be used to complete flood mapping and acquire LiDAR data to support detailed flood mapping. See:
The risk assessment initiative was launched February 14 at a Community-to-Community Forum in Kamloops, which brought together representatives of local governments and First Nations in the Thompson. Here is a forum summary and presentation slides (PDF):
The map Jurisdictions within the Thompson Watershed shows administrative and watershed boundaries. View a larger version (PDF).
Mike Simpson, MA, RPF
T: 250 314-9660