The popularity of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant Program, now in its fourth year, continues to grow. Approximately $676,000 in applications was submitted to the OBWB for the 2009 funding cycle – more than twice the available funding of $300,000.

“I am excited to see the large number of applicants interested in the program and the high caliber of the applications submitted,” stated Genevieve Dunbar, Office and Grants Administrator for the OBWB, “The OBWB is fortunate to have thirty-two excellent applications to consider and much deliberation will be needed to determine how to distribute the grant funding.”

The WCQI program goals are to foster a collaborative approach to addressing water management issues and to promote more uniform standards and best practices throughout the Okanagan Basin. 2009 grant applications cover a wide variety of important water quality and conservation projects including creek protection and restoration, mapping of shorelines and stream-side areas, Xeriscaping

classes and demonstration garden, reuse of grey water (wastewater generated from washing, laundry and bathing), and improving irrigation of city parks.

Since the inception of the grant program in 2006, the OBWB has awarded $1.1 million to 59 projects throughout the Okanagan. Partnerships, in-kind donations, and matching funding of over $4 million from partner organizations were key components of these projects, which included water metering, stream restoration in Joe Rich, cattle fencing in the Duteau Creek (North Okanagan) and Mill Creek (Central Okanagan) watersheds, and various groundwater studies.

Grant awards will be announced in early April and Ms. Dunbar expects that successful recipients will begin work immediately.

If you are interested in learning more about the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant Program, please contact Genevieve Dunbar for more information at [email protected] or (250) 469-6270.