Columbia River Treaty renegotiation will impact Okanagan

Penticton Western News – June 29, 2018

The renegotiation of the Columbia River Treaty will have an impact on the B.C. Southern Interior’s environment preservation and economic future that will also be felt across the Okanagan Valley.

With multiple interests converging on the treaty renegotiation process that just started preliminary meetings between U.S. and Canada representatives, it figures to be more complicated than the original agreement that was struck in 1964.

“The original deal was about water, power and, in the U.S., access to irrigation supply for agriculture — and that was it,” said Brian Guy, a retired Vernon geotechnical engineer and former chair of both the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council and Canadian Water Resources Association.

“Nobody cared at that time about the social impacts, the cultural impacts or the environmental impacts. The engineers came in and did their thing and did not think about those impacts. It was about flood control, money and hydro power.

“But we live in a new world today and society’s values about the environment have changed.”

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