Okanagan Water Board celebrates 50 years with online speaker series to get water convo flowing

October 16, 2020

Kelowna, B.C. – The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is celebrating its 50th anniversary, providing leadership on water issues in the valley, by hosting a public speaker series online.

“We wanted to celebrate this significant milestone with the public, but due to COVID-19 and the inability to gather in-person, we decided to hold an online event,” explains OBWB Exec. Dir. Anna Warwick Sears. “This way we can ensure physical distancing while allowing people the opportunity to celebrate with us from the comfort of their own homes.”

The series, hosted by the OBWB and its Okanagan WaterWise program, includes presentations and Q&A sessions with two heavy-hitters in the water world: Bob Sandford on Oct. 22, 7-9 PM (PT), and Seth M. Siegel on Nov. 12, 4-5:30 PM (PT).

Sandford is Global Water Futures Chair in Water and Climate Security at the United Nations (UN) University Institute for Water, Environment and Health. In a talk entitled “The Okanagan Basin Water Board: The Next 50 Years,” Sandford will discuss the OBWB – its challenges and successes – over the past 50 years and in the context of 21st century global water policy. He will look ahead to the next 50 years with the coming storm of climate change, political and social turmoil, rapid population growth and the need for a clear vision and strategic direction for the OBWB. Finally, Sandford will describe the transformational moment we find ourselves in, and give insights into what we can do to weather the storm.

Siegel is a New York Times bestselling author, international water activist, and Senior Fellow at the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Water Policy. Siegel tells the inspiring story of how Israel has become a world-leader in water management, governance, and water innovation, exporting more than $2.4 billion USD in water technology and equipment annually and recycling more than 90% of its wastewater. This, despite 60% of the country being desert. Siegel will reflect on the state of water management in the U.S. and globally, and provide lessons for the future of water management and governance, including in Canada’s most water-stressed region, the Okanagan.

“Our wish is that people will come away from hearing the presenters feeling inspired,” added Sears. “We hope people will be better informed about the work of the OBWB, and how they can engage as residents to help meet the needs of our water future as we embark on our next 50 years and beyond.”

Both presentations are free. Tickets for Sandford’s presentation can be found at https://obwb-50_bobsandford.eventbrite.ca, and for Siegel’s presentation at https://obwb-50_sethsiegel.eventbrite.ca.

Find additional information on the OBWB, Sandford and Siegel, in the Backgrounder.

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