Okanagan River Water Intake Feasibility Study (2 Grants)

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Okanagan Nation Alliance

Project Description:

The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA), using the Fish Water Management Tool, identified a reduced and poor habitat in Osoyoos Lake during late summer due to a temperature-oxygen squeeze. In this condition, the habitable portion of the water column is reduced which impacts both migrating adult sockeye salmon and juvenile sockeye smolts. In previous years, conserved water flows would be released in a flush to reduce the effect of the squeeze, but low rainfall and snowpack in the Okanagan have precluded the ability to hold back water.  As most of the water intakes on Okanagan River are designed for 8 m3/s flows, ONA conducted a feasibility study along the mainstem between Okanagan Lake and Osoyoos Lake to identify which intakes would require retrofitting to allow for water withdrawal at the reduced flow of 4 m3/s. Intakes were identified through water licenses then located and analysed to produce a draft report including recommendations, costs, and logistics. If the structural changes are carried out, conserved flows would allow for late season flushing when necessary and would also help to maintain Okanagan Lake levels in the event of unprecedented drought conditions.

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