Groundwater – the Final Frontier

January 15, 2007

Researchers from across the province are meeting in Penticton next week to discuss the state of groundwater in the Okanagan. As surface water sources become fully allocated, many new developments are turning to underground water stores. Currently, extraction of groundwater is not regulated by the Province. As a result, groundwater depletion and contamination are serious concerns for the future of valley water supplies. Yet there has never been a comprehensive evaluation of how much water exists in Okanagan aquifers, their capacity for replenishment, or their vulnerability to pollution. The Groundwater Assessment of the Okanagan Basin is a new program that seeks to answer these questions.  The upcoming symposium, sponsored by the Canadian Water Network and the Okanagan Basin Water Board, focuses on recent groundwater assessment efforts by a consortium of researchers from four universities and a number of federal and provincial agencies.  The afternoon sessions for Tuesday January 23 at the Penticton Lakeside Resort – including a panel discussion on groundwater – will be of interest to the general public.

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If you’d like more information on this topic please contact Anna Warwick Sears at the Okanagan Basin Water Board, (250) 550-3779 or email ; or Vicki Carmichael at the Ministry of Environment (250) 387-9465 or email; or Diana Allen at Simon Fraser University (604) 291-3967 or email