Province antes up water supply funds

Provincial funding is being pumped into a review of the Okanagan’s water supply

Victoria is providing $150,000 to the Coldstream-based Okanagan Basin Water Board to complete a three-year study into supply and demand issues.

“We are pleased that the province is continuing its support of this crucial project,” said John Slater, OBWB chairman.

“The funding will help the board and its partners continue to move forward on planning and research that will provide long-term benefits to Okanagan residents, now and in the future.”

The study will be used by the OBWB, its water stewardship council and partners to optimize water supply and demand, and provide a basis for water licensing decisions and development of drought and water management plans.

It is also compiling all information on water use and supply in the Okanagan into a library that will be an invaluable resource for the research and water management communities.

The study is expected to be completed in 2009. Outcomes of the study will include:

  • A water science database for the Okanagan basin.
  • Reports on water supply, use and demand, and groundwater supplies that update the 1974 Okanagan basin study.
  • Hydrologic models for surface and groundwater.
  • A geographic information system-based agricultural demand model.
  • A water budget model for the basin with climate change scenarios.

Expected to cost close to $2 million over three years, the study is a partnership between the B.C. government and the OBWB, with contributions from a variety of other sources.

To date, the provincial government has contributed $750,000 to the study, with the Okanagan Basin Water Board also providing $360,000.