Water supply study funded

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has received a grant of $160,000 from the Canada-B.C. Water Supply Expansion program to go towards a water supply and demand study for the valley.

The $2.16 million project is a partnership amongst local, provincial and federal governments, the Okanagan Nation Alliance and groups such as the B.C. Agriculture Council, UBC Okanagan and Simon Fraser University.

OBWB executive director Anna Warwick Sears explained that gathering this information is vital for planning the future in the Okanagan.

“It’s like writing cheques on your bank account before you’ve balanced the chequebook. You don’t know what’s there to spend,” Sears said.

The project is about half-way through now and is scheduled to be complete in September 2009.

“We’ll end up with a lot of really valuable data,” she commented.

The water board is helping to coordinate the efforts, which involve federal and provincial environment and agriculture ministries.

The water board has put in $300,000, while the provincial environment ministry put $600,000 towards it.

The $160,000 is in addition to an earlier grant of $221,000, and $415,890 from the gas tax fund.

In-kind contributions are coming from many agencies as well, noted Sears.

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