Measuring stream flows for better water management is especially important in the Okanagan, because the valley’s semi-arid climate, vulnerability to climate change, and rapid population growth puts the region at high risk for future water shortages.
Stream flow and water level information is used every day by companies, businesses, all levels of government, First Nations and non-governmental organizations to make critical decisions related to economic development, public safety and resource protection. For these decisions to be meaningful and effective, comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date stream flow information must be collected through networks of monitoring stations.
Yet, while hydrometric (stream flow) data is extremely valuable to both environmental protection and economic stability, it is expensive and difficult to collect.
The Okanagan once had a very large number of hydrometric stations, some operated by Water Survey of Canada, some operated by local water utilities, forestry companies and others. A large number of the Water Survey stations have been closed by budget restrictions, but many of the independently operated stations are still running.