Some 175 properties along the Bonaparte River in Cache Creek are once again on Evacuation Alert, as heavy rainfall on July 1 has caused the river to rise rapidly. The high water has also caused the Village to shut down one of its two wells, meaning that Stage 4 water restrictions are in place until further notice.
After two months of decreasing water levels, the heavy rainfall on Canada Day caused the water in Cache Creek to rise suddenly, flooding the Cache Creek fire hall and Cariboo Sam Park on July 2. Excavation equipment was brought in to clear the debris choking the culvert at Quartz Road, in order to return the creek to its normal course.
Cement blocks have been put in place across Quartz Road outside the fire hall, and will remain there until at least Monday, July 6, as the creek is still running swiftly, and there is a concern that debris could once more block the culvert and cause another breach.
There was an initial drop of the water level in the Bonaparte River on July 3, but increased levels in the upper basin of the Bonaparte watershed are gradually making their way towards the town. Residents should leave in place any sandbags that were put out during the first flood event in April.
The Village is continuing to monitor water levels to ensure safety. Because of the length of this year’s flood season, river and creek banks are extremely dangerous in many places. People should stay a minimum of 10 feet away from banks, which could give way suddenly.
The Evacuation Alert affects 300 residents, who should pack valuables and make arrangements for transportation for themselves and any pets/livestock in the event that they have to leave quickly. If an Evacuation Order is issued, RCMP officers will deliver the notices to affected properties. Residents will be given as much advance warning as possible if evacuation is necessary, but should be prepared to leave with minimal notice if conditions change suddenly.
There is no impact to water quality, but the Stage 4 restrictions mean that water should be used for essential purposes only (drinking, food preparation, and hygiene).
Evacuation Alerts were first put in place for Cache Creek properties this year on April 20, when an early snow melt caused a rapid rise in water levels.
It is the fourth time in six years that the community has been put at major risk from flooding, with a flood event in 2015 causing millions of dollars of damage. Flooding in 2017 caused more severe damage, and claimed the life of Cache Creek Volunteer Fire Department Chief Clayton Cassidy, who was swept away while monitoring rising water levels.