“While the B.C. government continues to act on ‘Living Water Smart’ – which is our vision and plan for keeping our water healthy and secure for the future – what the Province does is only part of the solution. Local and regional groups like the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council are stepping up and demonstrating leadership throughout the province,” stated Environment Minister Terry Lake.
Okanagan Basin Water Board – Anna Sears (120p)
The Sustainable Water Strategy is grounded in action. Twelve high-level Guiding Principles for water management and policy provide a framework for the Strategy. The key action items were developed respecting these Guiding Principles.
The trends of increased occurrence of large and severe wildfires along with longer fire seasons are predicted to continue during dry years. Natural disturbances, such as wildfire, can have significant impacts on geomorphic processes and watershed functions.
Within the next 10 to 15 years it is projected that the available water in the Okanagan Basin will be fully allocated. At the same time, agricultural development is also expected to increase, with potential growth in the grape and wine sector leading the way. Also, the region will continue to experience both the benefits and consequences of climate change – that is, a longer growing season and changes in form and pattern of precipitation and runoff, respectively.
In keeping with its newly adopted Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, the Village of Lumby introduced a Stage-1 Water Conservation threshold that instituted water sprinkling regulations, a public education awareness program, and increased water-level monitoring for village wells.
Over the last few years, upgrades to intake screening facilities and pressure reducing stations in the District of Lake Country have increased efficiency and safety, which has allowed operators to meet the new demands with no net increase in staff. To continue this trend, the district has begun a program of integrating and automating operation facilities.
The issue of how to accommodate a doubling of the population in the high growth regions of British Columbia is the driver for implementing changes in the way we develop land and use water. Conversations with elected officials are yielding insights that are shaping implementation of Convening for Action pilot programs in three regions of British Columbia, namely: the Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Greater Vancouver.
The convergence of local, regional and provincial interests provided the impetus for organizing a ‘water-centric working session' in the Town of Oliver on March 30, 2006. A list of ten incremental steps were identified that will help guide the Town and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen on their journey to get from “there to here” along the soft path to water sustainability.
Naramata residents have seen considerable activity on their water system since construction began in February. Work is well underway on two contracts.
Water-centric planning in the South Okanagan can facilitate a plan of action for the entire Okanagan. This was the message conveyed by Kim Stephens, Program Coordinator for the Water Sustainability Action Plan for British Columbia, when he was invited to make a presentation to the recently formed Okanagan Water Stewardship Council.