Coming off hosting the annual Southern Interior Local Government Association convention that focused on water and being embroiled in a dispute over whether Kelowna should have just one integrated water supply for the entire city instead of the five independent and separate systems is currently has, Mayor Colin Basran has proclaimed May 1 to 7 B.C. Water Week in Kelowna.
Water Week is a public awareness campaign organized by the B.C. Water & Waste Association. The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness of the value of our water and the need to protect, conserve and support our water resources and systems.
“The City of Kelowna strongly supports the goals of this campaign,” said Basran. “Water plays a vital role in our daily lives and it is our goal during B.C. Water Week, to share with the public the many ways in which we can all help to preserve this essential resource as well as recognize the people and processes involved in getting clean water to our taps and returning it safely to the environment.”
He said one example of how residents can get involved is through the Adopt-a-Stream program.
Adopt-a-Stream is a long-standing program in the city that helps conserve and protect the urban watershed systems.
The city has run the Adopt-a-Stream program since 2000. The program encourages organizations to make a commitment to our environment.
According to the city, healthy streams, even very small ones, are an asset to the community. Streams and stream corridors provide 85 per cent of wildlife species with habitat, plus valuable spawning and rearing areas for fish. They affect drinking water and have a large influence on our recreational water quality.
Under the program, groups of volunteers commit to a minimum of two years with the program, receive training to host an Adopt-a-Stream clean-up, book clean-up kits through the city and schedule dates to “adopt” a local stream.
“Once the stream clean-up is completed, the city installs and maintains an Adopt-a-Stream sign on location, displaying the name of the active group volunteering in the area,” said Andrew Hunsberger, urban forest health technician with the city.
“We have over two dozen active volunteer groups in the program,” he added. “B.C. Water Week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the efforts of these groups to help protect and maintain our streams.”
The Central Okanagan Naturalist Club is one of those groups, having volunteered for more than five years.
“Our club has a mandate to preserve and protect our natural environment, helping to keep it clean and pristine for humans and wildlife,” said Irmgard Rruckheim.
“We average 10 volunteers per clean-up, sometimes completing two in one day.”
For more information about BC Water Week visit, www.valueofwater.ca.