Funds will conserve and protect water

Judie Steeves

staff reporter

Grants totalling $197,214 have been awarded by the Okanagan Basin Water Board for the Central Okanagan for the coming year, for projects that will conserve and protect water.

In all, 13 projects received some funding, ranging from $25,000 each for the District of Peachland to improve water management and for the Mission Creek restoration project to do an assessment of ecological goods and services, to $5,000 for development of a website as part of the Mission Creek restoration project.

Also funded were a $24,400 project for the Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program to survey Kalamalka and Wood Lakes for an aquatic habitat index, and $20,000 each for the City of Kelowna to begin a drought-tolerant sod replacement program and to reduce water used for irrigation by active management.

Grants of $15,000 went to UBCO for a study of contaminant intrusion in water distribution systems and the District of West Kelowna for a water utilities master plan.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association received $10,000 to promote xeriscapes to reduce water consumption, while the regional district received $11,574 for a leak detection project in Westshore Estates/Killliney Beach and the District of Lake Country received $10,300 to do landslide mapping, risk assessment and restoration plans for Vernon Creek.

The Glenmore-Ellison Irrigation District received $9,940 to limit the spread of aquatic invasive species, and the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce received $6,000 for a sustainable water strategy for business.

Throughout the valley, grants for more than $300,000 were given out as part of the OBWB’s water conservation and quality improvement grant program.

Executive-director Anna Warwick Sears said there were some great applications, but if all had been funded, it would have cost double what was available.

Criteria for the program included that projects provide a basin-wide benefit, include collaboration and promote best practices.

“The program is a great way to support non-profits in our community, and local governments, to do on-the-ground, tangible work that improves water in our valley for people as well as everything else that depends on a stable, clean water supply,” said Warwick Sears.

“The water in this valley is all connected. This grant program is a way to bring residents of the Okanagan together to take on projects that improve water in their own backyards, but which have valley-wide benefit. We have one valley; one water,” she said.

More than $2.1 million has been awarded through the program since it was begun in 2006.


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