“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” – Confucius
It is hard to think of anything more controversial than “Americans taking our water.” Questions come up at almost every public meeting. The concerns are not entirely unfounded: in general (as Trudeau famously remarked), living next door to the US is a lot like sleeping next to an elephant – feeling every twitch and grunt. This underlying sentiment, and the need to meet Okanagan water demand and environmental flows while being good neighbours, has created intense interest in the renewal of the International Joint Commission’s (IJC) agreement for Osoyoos Lake.
In this post, I want to share our “Made in the Okanagan” solution for the 2013 renewal of the Osoyoos Lake Operating Orders for Zosel Dam.
The orders’ main goals are to control floods and prevent water shortages. But everyone wants more certainty about water supplies on both sides of the international border – including water for the Okanagan’s reviving sockeye run. The reach most at issue for the US is the short stretch of river between the dam and its confluence with the mighty Similkameen River. While “certainty” may be out of reach in this era of environmental change, I feel we’ve come up with a strong set of action steps to get to our (bilateral) goals. Continue reading