Spring run off in the Okanagan: children’s safety

Understanding Spring Runoff

Spring runoff refers to the period in spring when snow and ice begin to melt, resulting in an increased flow of water in rivers, streams, and lakes. In the Okanagan Valley, spring runoff typically occurs from April to June, and it can be a dangerous time for water-related activities due to the increased flow of water and stronger currents.

The Okanagan Valley is located in British Columbia, Canada, and is known for its beautiful lakes and rivers. There are over 200 named lakes in the Okanagan Valley, including the well-known Okanagan Lake, Kalamalka Lake, and Skaha Lake. Additionally, there are numerous rivers and creeks, including the Okanagan River, Mission Creek, and Vernon Creek.

During spring runoff, the increased water flow can lead to flooding, erosion, and dangerous conditions for water activities. It’s essential to stay informed about local weather and water conditions and to take appropriate safety precautions when engaging in water activities during this time. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs annually in the Okanagan Valley and can be a beautiful sight to behold, but also presents potential hazards for those who aren’t prepared or cautious. During spring run off, water safety becomes a significant concern, especially for children. Parents and caregivers must ensure that children understand the risks associated with spring runoff and how to stay safe.

Water Safety Tips for Children

It’s crucial to teach children how to be safe around water bodies during spring runoff. Here are some water safety tips that parents and caregivers can follow to keep children safe:

  1. Never leave children unattended near water bodies: Children should always be supervised by an adult when near any water body. Even shallow water can pose a threat to children.
  2. Wear a life jacket: Life jackets can save lives in case of an emergency. Children should always wear properly fitting life jackets when near water.
  3. Stay away from fast-moving water: During spring runoff, the water current can be very strong. Children should be taught to stay away from areas where the water is moving too quickly.
  4. Avoid swimming in rivers and streams: Rivers and streams can be very dangerous during spring runoff. Children should avoid swimming in these water bodies altogether.
  5. Learn to swim: Children should be taught how to swim from a young age. Swimming lessons can be a great way to ensure that children are confident and comfortable around water.


Water safety is crucial during spring runoff, especially for children. Parents and caregivers must ensure that children understand the risks associated with spring runoff and how to stay safe. By following the water safety tips outlined above, children can enjoy water activities safely. Additionally, parents and caregivers must also stay up to date with local weather and water conditions and adjust their plans accordingly. Remember, safety should always be the top priority when it comes to water activities.