Okanagan water study soaks up accolades

Study looking into water supply and demand earns award from B.C. Water and Waste Association

  • May. 3, 2012 7:00 p.m.

A massive, three-year study into water supply and demand in the Okanagan valley has earned the Okanagan Basin Water Board, along with 13 partnering agencies who participated in the study, an award from the British Columbia Water and Waste Association.

The water board and other organizations involved in the study have been given the Award for Excellence in the Water and Waste Community. This year’s award was the first of the new annual award given out by the association.

While there were a number of other nominations for the award, the nine-person panel, consisting of representatives from government and scientific communities, was unanimous in deciding to give the Okanagan water and supply demand study the award.

Daisy Foster, chief executive officer for the British Columbia Water and Waste Association, said while there were a number of other projects vying for the award, the Okanagan study shone through in its ambition.

“There was the complexity and the scope, and the valuable data collected, and the collaborative effort that was involved,” Foster said. “The project laid the groundwork, and it’s likely the most valuable initiative that’s been undertaken to support sustainable water management in the Okanagan.”

The project, which looked at how much water is in the Okanagan valley system and how it is used, created a number of modeling tools that can be used to study things such as water use in different environments, said Anna Warwick Sears, co-chair of the project.

“For example, we can calculate, using the model, how much water would apple trees use during a given year given a set of weather conditions, how much water grapes would use during this set of environment conditions,” she said. “Then, it puts it all together and calculates how much they use this year, here’s how much they might use during a drought like the 1930s.

“It really helps a lot for people who are making decisions for how much water should be licensed for a creek or a lake. It also helps water utilities plan for the future if they know how much water different sectors are using.”

As well as for licensing, Warwick Sears said the study has already found many other uses, such as dam safety training, regional growth strategies and aquifer studies.

However, what Warwick Sears said she found surprising in the study was the amount of water that people living in the Okanagan valley consume.

“I think we calculated it being 675 litres a day per person, and the average in Canada is 329 litres a day per person,” she said. “There’s reasons for that, and the biggest one is that we like to have green lawns, and we live in a place that has hot, dry summers; basically we live in a place I’ve jokingly called the irrigation nation.”

Foster said that the purpose of the award is two-fold — the recognition of excellence and getting the study known by the public.

“Our mandate is to encourage great practices, and when we see excellent things like this, to raise the profile of it and showcase it to the community out there, and hopefully this will become a model for other regions — not only in B.C. but beyond,” she said. “We think this project has the potential to do that.”

 

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read