Conservation projects can tap into funding

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is fishing for projects that conserve or improve Okanagan water.

  • Feb. 3, 2011 10:00 a.m.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is fishing for projects that conserve or improve Okanagan water.

Successful applicants can receive up to $30,000 for their project, with a total of $300,000 available.

“This program exemplifies our reality of One Valley, One Water,” said Anna Warwick-Sears, OBWB executive director. “Everyone who lives in the Okanagan, whether you live in Armstrong or in Osoyoos, is critically interconnected by one water — the Okanagan basin. What happens to the water in the north affects the water quality in the south. We also live in a semi-arid climate and have less freshwater available per person in the Okanagan, yet homeowners use more than twice the Canadian average — this affects quantity.”

The OBWB program funds projects that tackle these issues. Several of the grants have resulted in lasting partnerships.

“We’ve seen networks of expertise built. We’ve seen practical approaches to water conservation and water quality improvement created that can be applied valley-wide. And, we’ve seen water conserved and quality improved,” said Warwick-Sears.

One example is the City of Penticton’s environmental audit pilot project this past year which helped business owners reduce water and energy consumption — a project that could possibly be implemented in other communities. Another project was the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s demonstration garden, providing Okanagan homeowners with examples of gardens that require less water and are more appropriate for the region’s dry climate.

“Like past years, we’re looking for applications that think outside the box and clearly demonstrate benefits for the entire valley,” said Warwick-Sears.

The deadline for applications is Feb. 21 by 4 p.m. All applications must submit a resolution from local government, endorsing their application. The application and more information can be found at www.obwb.ca.