Advertisement

Select Page

Federal funds flow to Okanagan for water sustainability

Federal funds flow to Okanagan for water sustainability

developers-skaha

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) has secured a $397,000 grant through the federal Gas Tax Fund, helping better understand the water needs in a region known for its water challenges and Canada’s largest population growth. The announcement was made Friday in Kelowna.

Thanks to this funding, a two-year study will begin looking at the Environmental Flow Needs – or the water needs of fish and aquatic ecosystems – in the Okanagan. This phase of the project will include approximately 10 stream-by-stream studies, using flow monitoring equipment in streams identified as important for fish habitat throughout the valley. The work will be a partnership between the OBWB and Okanagan Nation Alliance’s (ONA) Fisheries Department and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“Water is precious in the Okanagan, where we have one of the lowest rates of water available per person than anywhere in Canada, but have one of the highest rates of use in the country,” noted Doug Findlater, Chair of the OBWB. “Through this grant, the Water Board, ONA and provincial ministry will be conducting the largest Environmental Flow Needs study in Canada. This is an essential process needed to sustainably manage the waters of this valley.”

“Through the federal Gas Tax Fund, the Government of Canada allows communities in British Columbia, and all across Canada, to fund local infrastructure projects and strategic priorities that best meet their communities’ needs,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr, speaking on behalf of the Hon. Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “The federal funding announced today will help the OBWB, which serves the three Okanagan regional districts, to plan ahead and prioritize the water needs of fish and aquatic ecosystems, helping ensure the sustainability of the Okanagan,” he added.

According to the OBWB’s Executive Director, Anna Warwick Sears, the need for this project was identified back in 2010 when the agency completed Phase 2 of its Water Supply and Demand Study. “Since then, concerns have continued to grow about the number of water licences on Okanagan streams, so we started working with the province on how to make the best licencing decisions. But then we both realized there’s a critical information gap – we need to know the needs of fish before allocating more licences. In fact, B.C.’s new Water Sustainability Act will require environmental needs be taken into consideration,” she explained.

“As we reflect on the drought of last summer and the competing needs for water, and as those needs continue to multiply with population growth, this project is aimed at helping make the best water use decisions possible,” Sears added. It will help the province with water licence decisions, but it will also help local governments make better informed development and infrastructure planning decisions. And, it can also help in fishery recovery efforts.

“Instead of waiting to see the fish gasping in the streams, this will allow us to know how much water they need,” said Sears. “It’s like an advanced warning system, letting us know when and where restrictions and regulations are needed.”

“The Okanagan Nation holds constitutional rights including those related to our syilx Water,” stated Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, ONA Chairman. “For decades the Syilx Peoples have been developing watershed-based processes and policies to ensure our water sustainability is addressed and informed by our traditional ecological knowledge in a meaningful way.”

“Water is one of the world’s most vital resources, and that’s why it’s so important to study the timing, quality and quantity of water flows in order to maintain a healthy balance between the needs of the ecosystem and the residents of the Okanagan,” added Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, and MLA Kelowna-Mission.

In British Columbia, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers the Gas Tax Fund, in partnership with Canada and British Columbia.

Related Post

About The Author

Editor

Okanagan Life captures the essence of life in the Okanagan Valley with informative and entertaining features on issues that matter to people who live or vacation in this great region, plus stories on Okanagan destinations, personalities, wine, food, history, outdoor recreation and more. We're now in our 30th year of publishing. Subscribe

30,000 giveaway for small business okanagan

Current Issue

yearly-subscribeDigital Edition - Yearly Subscription

Each month, we're giving away 30 free annual subscriptions to celebrate our 30th year in publishing! With a digital subscription, you can enjoy Okanagan Life on your tablet.

Upcoming Events

Feb
17
Sat
6:00 pm John Paul Byrne at Beach Ave Cafe @ Beach Ave Cafe & Tapas Bar
John Paul Byrne at Beach Ave Cafe @ Beach Ave Cafe & Tapas Bar
Feb 17 @ 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm
John Paul Byrne at Beach Ave Cafe @ Beach Ave Cafe & Tapas Bar | Peachland | BC | Canada
Shake off those snowflakes and head to the beach. John Paul Byrne plays Saturday, February 17 at the Beach Avenue Cafe along the lakeshore in Peachland. Alberta-born, this singer-songwriter with his acoustic guitar and baritone[...]
6:00 pm Magical Night of Laughter – Love...
Magical Night of Laughter – Love...
Feb 17 @ 6:00 pm – 9:15 pm
Magical Night of Laughter - Love·Gives·Back Campaign 2018
Join us for the 4th Annual “A Magical Night of Laughter – Love Gives Back Campaign” at the KLO Theatre Okanagan College Saturday February 17th 2018! Featuring 2 winning performers: Comedian Tim Nutt and the magical[...]
7:30 pm Sister Act – The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio
Sister Act – The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio
Feb 17 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sister Act - The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio | Kelowna | BC | Canada
February 7 – 25, 2018 Sister Act is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film. Sing Hallelujah for this new, ridiculously fun, feel-good musical that will have you jumping to your[...]
Feb
18
Sun
7:30 pm Sister Act – The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio
Sister Act – The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio
Feb 18 @ 7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Sister Act - The Musical @ Kelowna Actors Studio | Kelowna | BC | Canada
February 7 – 25, 2018 Sister Act is the feel-good musical comedy smash based on the hit 1992 film. Sing Hallelujah for this new, ridiculously fun, feel-good musical that will have you jumping to your[...]

TWITTER

Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match