Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy: Action Plan 1.0 (2008)



Convening for Action in the Okanagan

The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) was instituted in 1970 through a collaboration of the three Okanagan regional districts to provide leadership on water issues that span the entire valley – recognizing the need to work together to protect their common resources. One of the OBWB’s goals is to find collaborative solutions to water resource concerns, and bridge the interests of all Okanagan and senior government, water stakeholders, and citizens.


Water Stewardship Council

“In the spring of 2006, the three regional districts in the Okanagan valley took a major step toward this goal by empowering the Okanagan Basin Water Board to form the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council,” reports Anna Warwick Sears, OBWB Executive Director.

“The Council acts in an advisory role to the Board and the Council Chair is a voting member on the Board. The goal of forming this Council is to capitalize on local water management expertise to improve long term decision making – in light of current trends toward rapid growth, climate change and the uncertain water supplies.”

“In October 2008, the Council released the Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy, a comprehensive guide to water management practices that will help us adapt to changing climate and rising water demand and work toward long-term water sustainability in the Okanagan Basin.”


Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy

“The Strategy was developed at the request of the OBWB Directors, who asked for a document that would bring together information about Okanagan water issues and make recommendations about how these issues should be addressed,” continues Ted van der Gulik. A foundingmember of the Council, he was also the first Vice-Chair.

“The Council and external reviewers devoted thousands of hours in preparation of the Strategy. Their findings, conclusions, and recommended actions are based on a remarkable degree of consensus among all participants.”

“The Strategy brought together extensive technical information about the Basin and highlighted the most important water management issues and how they connect to one another.”

“The Strategy included recommended actions designed to protect water at its source, share water in times of shortages, manage water demand, and identify the best structure for valley-wide governance. Having all of this information laid out and explained in one document meant that the Board could act on those recommendations that match priorities and capacity.”


Guiding Values

Five guiding values provide a framework within which the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council evaluates specific water management policies or proposals, and when convening for action:


“The Council, comprised of more than two dozen water management experts, representatives of user groups, and concerned community leaders, has tendrils that extend throughout the Okanagan Valley community,” explains Anna Warwick Sears. “Council products include a shared understanding of issues and concerns. This understanding is then fed back to the Water Board.”


To Learn More:

To download a Strategy backgrounder and the Executive Summary and Table of Contents from the Strategy, click on OSWS Information Package.

To download a copy of the complete document, click on Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy: Action Plan 1.0 (2008)