Kelowna, B.C. – 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 (EFNs) – or the water needs of fish and aquatic ecosystems – in the Okanagan. The 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 (FLNRO).
“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 FLNRO, 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.”