The Town of Oliver is lobbying for funds to fix part of an irrigation system damaged by a rock slide last year that would have a huge impact on farmers and the entire region. File photo

The Town of Oliver is lobbying for funds to fix part of an irrigation system damaged by a rock slide last year that would have a huge impact on farmers and the entire region. File photo

Province to finish funding for Oliver irrigation system repairs

The irrigation system was damaged after a rockslide in 2016

The Town of Oliver will be getting a $5 million investment into their irrigation network to support local orchards, farms and wineries.

New pipes will reroute the town’s agricultural irrigation system around Gallagher Lake to serve as a dependable source of year-round irrigation water.

The new system, expected to be complete in April 2022, will replace temporary piping that was established following a rockslide in 2016. The slide damaged infrastructure that carried irrigation water to the Town of Oliver, the Osoyoos Indian Band and farms, wineries and orchards in the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS). The temporary piping has delivered irrigation water since the slide, but at reduced capacity, and with vulnerabilities during hotter years with lower precipitation.

“The canal pipeline has served a critical role in delivering irrigation water to over 5,000 acres of farmland in Oliver, surrounding Area C (rural Oliver), and the Osoyoos Indian Band lands for 100 years. The 2016 rockfall significantly threatened this crucial irrigation water supply,” said Oliver mayor Martin Johansen. “The $11-million rerouting project is currently underway along Gallagher Lake and this $5-million provincial contribution towards this project is gratefully received by many small and large farms, orchards, wineries and businesses in the agricultural sector.”

READ MORE: Town of Oliver lobbying for crucial irrigation fix

The provincial contribution completes the funding for the $11-million partnership with the Town of Oliver and was contingent on the town raising the remaining project funds, consulting with stakeholders and completing an environmental impact assessment and archeological review.

Updates on the project are available here: https://oliver.ca/gallagher-lake-siphon-repair/

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