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Climate change and the future of Okanagan water resources

Climate change is a topic occupying many people’s minds. Statisticians examine decades of climate data looking for trends; scientists pursue the development of temperature and precipitation models to predict future climatic fluctuations; politicians argue about reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and the world’s citizens look to an uncertain future for their children and grandchildren. Many studies have determined that global climate patterns are changing. But what does the future hold for us here in B.C.? A group of researchers set out to answer that question.

Assessing the value of natural capital in the Lower Fraser Valley

The term 'natural capital' refers to a region’s natural, environmental, and ecosystem resources, and land. It is capital because it contributes goods and services necessary for environmental and economic health. In addition to some of the more obvious benefits of environmental conservation such as habitat preservation, flood control, and ensuring water quality, there are significant financial benefits. Assigning a monetary value to our natural resources creates another motivation for environmental preservation and restoration.

So, What Does Water-Centric Planning Mean?

Water-centric means that we will plan with a view to water - whether we are planning for a single site or the entire Province. Water-centric planning considers the amount of water available, the amount of water needed, innovative efficiency strategies, the quality of water leaving the area, how rain and snow water are managed, and the impact on the natural environment.

Impact of Climate Change at a Provincial Scale

If warming trends continue, over the next 100 years we could get up to 20% more rain, an 88-centimetre jump in sea levels, rivers drying up, a big dent in salmon migration and a spreading of the mountain pine beetle. British Columbia's average temperature could also increase by 4-degrees Celsius. Northern BC's temperature has climbed 1.7-degrees Celsius over the past 100 years, three times the global average.

Groundwater Assessment in the Okanagan Basin (GAOB):

The Groundwater Assessment in the Okanagan Basin (GAOB) project is a major partnership initiative to assess and characterize groundwater resources in the Okanagan. A Steering Committee for the project, which began in the fall of 2003, includes representatives from the Geological Survey of Canada, the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Ministry of Environment.

Announcing Water Highway BC


Water Highway BC - banner
Representatives of several industry associations have formed Water Highway BC (WHBC) to preserve and promote BC's water information highway - the water quantity (hydrometric), snow survey, weather and groundwater data needed to ensure public safety, economic development and water resource sustainability.

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