Organization: University of British Columbia - Okanagan
This project assessed the degree to which drought risk is a factor in the management decisions of Okanagan irrigators. In particular, it examined to what degree farmers worked collaboratively to manage the impact of drought, and whether there was openness to using more market like tools to manage the movement of water. The results of this project reveal that Okanagan irrigators are generally positive to a number of the incentives that would be generated by water trading, but are also deeply suspicious of exchanging water for money, particularly as they fear it will add one more pressure on an already struggling industry. This suggests that to irrigators at least, the Okanagan has not reached the level of crisis that prompted extensive and rapid market style reforms in Australia about a decade ago. The findings provide a snapshot of attitudes and practices for irrigators from the Osoyoos area to north of Vernon, and west into the Similkameen.