Freshet FAQ’S (Frequently Asked Questions)

Updated June 14, 2022

Find the answers to frequently asked questions about freshet below. For updates specific to this year's freshet, click hereIf you have other questions or concerns, please call our Flood Information Line at 604.793.2757.

1. What do I do if I notice a potential problem or flooding concern?

Call the information line 604.793.2757 and provide information about the issue and as much detail about the location as possible. Staff will investigate and act as necessary.

2. I’m going to be away during freshet season. What can I do to minimize potential impacts to my home?

Although the risk of a major flood occurring in any given year is relatively low, the possibility does exist. Residents must judge for themselves the threat to their property in the event of a flood and take what measures they deem necessary. Information about Fraser River flood protection is available at, and river forecasts are available from the BC River Forecast Centre.

Additional resources:

3. What if I need to build a sandbag wall?

Watch this video from Emergency Management BC about how to build a sandbag wall:

4. How can I know if my property is at risk?

Even if there are large snowpacks in the Fraser River watershed, it is difficult to predict whether or not there will be a serious flood because spring weather plays a critical role. It is also difficult to predict the specific impact of an event. Please check the map of possible floodplain areas here. Even those on higher ground could be impacted by an interruption in services such as hydro, gas or water. The best thing you can do to prepare now is to review or make your emergency plan and emergency kit, consider family members or friends who may need help, and know where to find information in an emergency.

5. How much protection does the dike system provide? 

The dikes in Chilliwack provide a very high level of protection. Half of the dikes are designed to protect against about a 1 in 200 year Fraser River flood. The other half of the dikes have been raised to provide an even higher level of protection, for about a 1 in 500 year flood. The likelihood of floods this large occurring in any given year is low, and the City thoroughly checks and monitors the integrity of the dike system and drainage pump stations during freshet to ensure they are operating properly.

6. What is the elevation of our area?

The City of Chilliwack has a floodplain elevation map available here. More elevation data is also available at (Select "Spot Elevations" under the Environment layer).

7. My property was placed on Evacuation Order. What do I do now?

If your home is under an Evacuation Order, you must leave the area immediately. It is very important to follow the directions of emergency services personnel. As soon as you are advised of the Evacuation Order, please leave the area and follow the instructions specified in the Order or by local emergency officials. If you require services such as lodging, please register at the reception centre specified on the Evacuation Order. Click here for more information on Evacuation Orders.

8. How will we know if we are being evacuated?

In an emergency, we will post emergency information about City services online, on social media, and send it to local news and radio outlets. If you lose your internet connection or don’t have power, use a battery powered radio to tune into local radio stations (98.3 Star FM and 89.5 The Drive). If there is an evacuation, crews will go door-to-door to make sure no one is missed. Learn more about where to find information during an emergency here.

9. How much notice will a person have that their area is going to flood?

While it is difficult to predict, weather patterns and forecasts are the primary indicator of Fraser River water levels. The City relies heavily on the BC River Forecast Centre for regularly updated flood forecasts. The River Forecast Centre provides 10-day forecasts for the Fraser River at Hope, but as with weather forecasting there is less accuracy beyond the first 3-4 days. We will attempt to provide early warning, but this is not always possible.

10. In the event of a flood, how long would it be before the water recedes?

In general, the exact time frame and level of high water is entirely dependent on weather patterns. For example, a rapid heating pattern would result in higher water levels for a shorter time, and a cooler pattern would lead to lower water levels for a longer time.

11. What will happen to the sanitary sewer systems if there is a flood?

If there is high water (flooding of the unprotected areas outside of the setback dikes), the sanitary sewer system will not be impacted, as the Water Pollution Control Plant is inside of the setback dikes along Wolfe Road.

12. Do we need to reduce our water use?

Extraordinary water conservation measures are not required due to the spring freshet. Water conservation is always encouraged, and summer watering restrictions come into effect on June 1 each year. 

13. Where do I pump water from a flooded basement?

The water should be drained into your yard, away from your house.

14. Would our water supply be affected by a flood?

The community's water supply comes from wells located outside of the floodplain in the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, which would not be impacted by a Fraser River flood. However, in the event of a catastrophic flood, the water distribution system in lower areas of the community could be impacted.


Contact Information

  • Freshet Information Line - (604) 793-2757
  • Chilliwack Emergency Program - (604) 792-8713