Funds flow to protect Okanagan Valley water

With climate change and valley population growth, bylaws will be introduced to help Okanagan residents become more WaterWise.

  • Mar. 14, 2015 5:00 p.m.

Kelowna, B.C. – The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) has approved $300,000 in funding to 18 projects that will help conserve and improve the quality of water in the Okanagan Valley.

Directors approved the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement (WCQI) Grants in early March. In all, 26 applications with a total ask of $643,138 were approved throughout the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

“Once again, we had great interest in the program from throughout the valley and excellent applications,” noted James Littley, OBWB’s office and projects manager.

Central Okanagan

A study on biosolids by the Regional District of Central Okanagan, and virus testing in groundwater by South East Kelowna Irrigation District.

Ecole KLO Middle School received funds in 2013 towards its Fascieux Creek Daylighting project and received funds again this year for Phase 2.

Also, Shannon Lake Elementary received funds for a water conservation education project. “This is a really neat project,” Littley said. “The school grounds are experiencing increased erosion while at the same time having to build new classrooms.  By putting in some innovative gardens they’ll address erosion while teaching kids about WaterWise gardening, conservation through landscaping. They’re also looking to create a more healthy ecosystem for pollinators and decrease runoff which will help protect fish in nearby streams.”

South Okanagan

There are a number of projects including providing the Okanagan Nation Alliance with water quality assurance during construction of a fish spawning bed.

Low-water demonstration gardens at Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

Also, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will begin phase 2 of a Regional Water Use Regulation and Conservation Bylaw.

“With climate change and more people moving to our valley, bylaws will be introduced to help residents become more WaterWise,” explained Littley. “These regulations are what will allow for continued and sustainable economic development in our region.” Since the program began awarding funds in 2006, the OBWB has awarded $3.2 million to 197 projects throughout the Okanagan.  Projects must meet a number of criteria, including the ability to demonstrate water savings or improvements to water quality, show collaboration, and provide valley-wide benefit.

North Okanagan

Projects include a flood mapping project on Swan Lake and irrigation improvements at Okanagan College’s Kalamalka demonstration garden.

Greater Vernon Water will conduct a land use and water quality assessment of Swan Lake.


Here is the complete list of locally awarded grants:

• Ecole KLO Middle School Fascieux Creek daylighting and naturalization—phase 2 $28,000

• Southeast Kelowna Irrigation District virus testing in groundwater supply sources using genetic testing—a new innovative approach $28,000

• RDCO advanced biosolid digestion to control nutrient and micropollutants discharged from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant $25,310

• Mission Creek restoration initiative baseline bio-inventory and hydraulic  engineering for dike setback design $25,000

• City of Kelowna Mill Creek tree management plan $20,000

• Okanagan Xeriscape Association fostering collaboration to create commercial conditions that meet xeriscape demand $20,000

• Central Okanagan Land Trust Munson Pond park naturalization $15,000

• RDCO Joe Rich Creek restoration monitoring program $10,000

• Shannon Lake Elementary water conservation/outdoor gardening education $8,000


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