Kelowna, B.C. – Public hearings are being held on the renewal of Operating Orders for Osoyoos Lake July 24 in Oroville Wash., and July 25 in Osoyoos, B.C. And elected officials on both sides of the border are encouraging residents to come out and have their say.
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is holding the hearings as the current orders are set to expire Feb. 22, 2013. Currently, an agreement between Canada and the U.S. regulates water levels on Osoyoos Lake to protect against both drought and flooding for the benefit of agriculture, tourism, municipal interests, and fisheries protection on both sides of the border.
It’s been 25 years since we had such hearings and these could be the last we ever have. Most of the IJC’s water treaty agreements along the 49th parallel are indefinite and it is possible that the one adopted this time around will also be indefinite. This point is not lost on either Osoyoos Mayor and Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) Chair Stu Wells or Oroville City Councilor Walt Hart III.