The Okanagan Basin Water Board, in partnership with the B.C. Ministry of Environment and with significant contributions from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, the B.C. Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Environment Canada, Agriculture Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Okanagan Nation Alliance, is working to establish better systems to track natural water flows, establish water-use patterns, and estimate how these will change in the future.
The Okanagan Water Supply & Demand Project is a partnership of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the B.C. Ministry of Environment. Other partners include: the B.C. Ministries of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, and Agriculture; the federal Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Agri-Food, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Okanagan Nation Alliance; UBC-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; the BC Agriculture Council; and the Water Supply Association of BC.
The project was funded by grants from the B.C. Ministry of Environment, the Canada-BC Water Supply Expansion Program (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), the Gas Tax Fund, and Natural Resources Canada. The OBWB acted as financial administrator for the project and provided local matching funds. Local water suppliers contributed by providing data. The total project cost was close to $2,300,000 and received an additional $900,000 of in-kind support from partner agencies.
A Note on the Lead Funder for Phase 3:
NRCan’s Regional Adaptation Collaboratives (RAC) Program was a national program. B.C.’s RAC was administered by the Fraser Basin Council on behalf of NRCan and the Province of B.C. With initial B.C. RAC funding (2009-2012) there were approximately 19 separate projects funded, with a total budget of more than $3.3 M over three years. The Okanagan Water Supply & Demand Project was awarded almost $500,000 through this program.
In 2011 and 2012, RAC funds were used for WSD Project Phase 3 projects such as public communication and consultation, making data accessible to municipal planners, further developing future scenarios based on the needs of local governments, stakeholders and senior government partners. The final year culminated with a report targeted to local governments and the province identifying potential policy changes and other actions to reduce water shortages and protect ecosystems.