Big lake fosters water delusions

The magnificent, big blue lake flowing through the middle of the Okanagan Valley makes people wonder why there’s all the fuss about water, says Environment Canada climatologist Bill Taylor.

However, he says, it’s deceiving.

To help educate valley residents about the impact this dry climate has on the water resource, a large and diverse team of experts in a variety of areas put together a Waterscape poster.
Now available free to the public, the poster delivers a clear message in a very graphic way about “the myth of abundance” of water in the valley, said Bob Turner, a scientist with the Geological Survey of Canada.

“Rising demand (for water) and changing climate result in a challenged supply,” he explained.
Although water is used by agriculture and industry, wildlife, and for esthetics, water supply, recreation and discharge of waste, it all comes from the sky, and most enters this basin as snow, he said.

Less than 1.5 metres deep of Okanagan Lake’s water is replenished annually and groundwater is not a separate source of water, so there’s actually not a lot available for consumptive use, he said.

Jennifer French of Science Opportunities for Kids is creating a teacher’s guide for use with the Waterscape poster which is to be ready this spring.

Copies of the poster are available through the UBCO bookstore, City Hall, and at the Environmental Education Centre of the Okanagan in Mission Creek Park, or go to