Okanagan Wetlands Strategy
The Okanagan Wetlands Strategy is a three-phase effort to re-establish wetland ecosystems. Learn more about the Okanagan Wetlands Strategy.
Environmental Flow Needs Project
The environmental flow needs (EFN) of a stream are defined as the volume and timing of water flow required for proper functioning of the aquatic ecosystem. The OBWB is working collaboratively with the Okanagan Nation Alliance and BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations to determine EFNs of Okanagan streams. Learn more about the Environmental Flow Needs Project.
Okanagan Groundwater Monitoring Project
The Okanagan Groundwater Monitoring Project is an initiative to increase the monitoring of priority aquifers in the Okanagan region. The project is led by the OBWB and involves collaboration between local, provincial and federal levels of government. Learn more about the Okanagan Groundwater Monitoring Project.
Lake Evaporation Study
In collaboration with Environment Canada, three large yellow buoys and two land-based stations were launched on Okanagan Lake to monitor lake evaporation, initially estimated at about one metre of loss per year. Learn more about the Lake Evaporation Study.
Hydrologic Connectivity Study
We all share the limited rain and snow that falls within the Okanagan watershed. This study considers how water utilities are connected hydrologically (how water flows through the valley) and legally (through water licencing). Learn more about the Hydrologic Connectivity Study.
Osoyoos Lake Operating Orders
Osoyoos Lake straddles the US-Canada border, and its management is governed through Orders – renewed in 2013 – by the International Joint Commission under the Boundary Waters Treaty. The OBWB has been closely involved with the renewal process. Learn more by visiting the Osoyoos Lake Water Science Forum page, the Osoyoos Lake Levels webpage and the Building Bridges blog.
UBCO Water Research
The OBWB frequently partners with faculty and students at UBC Okanagan on water-related research projects, including:
- Endocrine Disrupter study by Trisha Brett and Jeff Curtis.
- Water Governance research by Dr. Grace Fan, Dr. John Wagner, Dr. John Janmaat, and Nelson Jatel (Master’s research).
- Studies on groundwater/surface water interactions by Dr. Craig Nichol and Nicole Pyett.
- Watershed studies by Dr. Adam Wei.
- Research on Osoyoos Lake Operating Orders by Dr. Bernie Bauer.
- Water mapping projects by Dr. Jon Corbett.
In the first of a five-year commitment by the three regional districts, the OBWB contributed $100,000 in 2012 to support a Water Research Chair at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan. These funds triggered more than $1.5 million in contributions from the Province of B.C. and the Real Estate Foundation of BC. Learn more about OBWB Funding Partnerships.
Okanagan Water Supply and Demand
The Okanagan Water Supply and Demand Project is the most advanced water resource assessment ever conducted in Canada, using the latest models and computer technology to estimate Okanagan water availability, taking into account climate change and population growth. Visit the Project Website to find studies on groundwater, stream-flows, environmental water needs, and water use.
BC Water Use Reporting Centre (BC WURC)
The Okanagan has the lowest per person water availability in Canada but until now, we didn’t have a system to track how much water we use. BC Water Use Reporting Centre is a streamlined web-based system for water suppliers and other large water users to record how much water they use each month, evaluate changes from year to year, and look at how their water use compares to other areas. Water planners also use the system – to help manage drought and water shortages, and plan for increased demand from climate change and population growth. The system gives a picture of how water is used in the valley as a whole.
The BC WURC is a partnership with water suppliers, local government planners, and BC and Canada ministries. It brings together information from all large water users: licensed and unlicensed, public and private, surface and groundwater. Although it was developed to meet the needs of the Okanagan, this tool can be customized for specific regions or industries in other parts of British Columbia. Learn more about the BC Water Use Reporting Centre.
Economic Valuation of Sockeye Habitat in the Okanagan River
This study focuses on the only remaining unchannelized portion of the Okanagan River in BC (north of Oliver) and provides an economic valuation of the sockeye habitat and other ecosystem services supported by this natural section of river. Learn more about the value of sockeye habitat.
Re-establishing Strategic Hydrometric Stations in the Okanagan
The Okanagan is at high risk for future water shortages because of its arid climate and rapid population growth – with the lowest per capita supply in Canada, and impacts of climate change. The overall objective of this project is for the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB), along with partners from local and senior governments and water user groups, to install 15 strategic hydrometric monitoring stations in the Okanagan Basin, British Columbia.
In 2008, the OBWB and BC Ministry of Environment commissioned a study to determine the location of hydrometric monitoring stations essential to long-term water management in the Okanagan Basin. Their importance is underscored by a recent audit of the National Hydrometric Program which found that hydrometric monitoring has significant value to our environment and economy.
This project takes a collaborative approach to re-establish strategic hydrometric monitoring stations. Partners include: Water Survey of Canada (who will manage the data), BC MFLNRO, local water utilities (who will pay for long term management and monitoring), the Okanagan Basin Water Board (project management and co-funding future stations) and other partners that include UBC Okanagan and the AAFC research stations (Kamloops and Summerland).