Minor flooding possible in Port Coquitlam if snowmelt continues

Jerry Janzen of the Tri-City Photography Club snapped this photo of the Coquitlam River in the winter of 2022.

With high temperatures causing snowmelt to swell rivers, Port Coquitlam could see minor flooding in low-lying areas, according to a release from the city.

Provisional information from the province’s River Forecast Centre shows the Coquitlam River at Port Coquitlam has risen substantially since May 11.

A look at the Coquitlam River water level at Port Coquitlam. Water level is in green. Discharge is in orange. All information is considered provisional. image supplied B.C. River Forecast Centre

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While major flooding is not expected, Port Coquitlam is advising residents to use “extreme caution” alongside fast-flowing rivers as water levels can change quickly.

The city is asking resident to clear out catch basins to help prevent street flooding. Drivers are asked to move vehicles parked underground to street level.

“Residents and businesses are encouraged to develop their own emergency preparedness plans in advance of potential emergencies or disasters,” stated a release from Port Coquitlam.

Residents can report flooding by publicworks@portcoquitlam.ca, calling 604-927-5496, or through portcoquitlam.ca/report.

City staff are set to patrol and maintain dikes and pump stations.

Water levels are expected to stay high “but not overly increase” due to cooler weather over the next couple weeks, according to the city.


Map of floodplain boundaries. image supplied

Out of 12,200 properties zoned for single-family homes or duplexes, more than 18 percent are in the floodplain, according to a previous city staff report.

The city has dikes in the Fraser, Pitt and Coquitlam rivers. The dikes were originally designed to designed to withstand a once-in-200-years flood.

image supplied

However, a study carried out by BC Hydro between 2000 and 2010 found that dikes on the Coquitlam River no longer met that standard.

Port Coquitlam has nine drainage pump stations. In high river conditions, the stations pump water over the dikes into the river.

To lessen the city’s reliance on the dikes, Port Coquitlam signed a deal with B.C. Hydro in 2009 which involves BC Hydro storing more water in the reservoir. B.C. Hydro also diverts flows during winter to avoid swelling the Coquitlam River during storm season.


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