The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has received a grant of $25,000 from the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The funding will be used to improve source water protection within the regional district. (Black Press file photo)

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has received a grant of $25,000 from the Okanagan Basin Water Board. The funding will be used to improve source water protection within the regional district. (Black Press file photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen receives grant for water protection

Grant of $25,000 will help improve source water protection

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has received $25,000 in grant funding to improve source water protection to ensure safe and reliable delivery of clean drinking water.

The RDOS received the grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board for the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant program.

The regional district is working with Associated Environmental, Interior Health, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to develop a geographic information system-capable file that will identify each supply well or surface water intake and their delineated drinking water protection area.

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These data layers will be stored in the regional district’s database and with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy BC Geographic Warehouse (BC Data Catalogue).

Creating these data files will provide easier access to information on the boundaries where surface water and groundwater is sourced for community drinking water systems within the regional district.

“This grant is an opportunity to improve knowledge needed for the successful implementation of water conservation and water quality programs,” said Karla Kozakevich, chair of the regional district.

“Providing easier access to information about where the areas are for protecting drinking water sources are beneficial when considering new builds or agricultural discharge applications.”

READ ALSO: Flumes once provided irrigation water to Summerland

Interior Health and drinking water supplies have typically driven local source water protection planning in the past, but over recent years, the water community and public have grown increasingly aware of its importance.

The data will be available to help drinking water providers complete more source protection planning and better handle emergency responses; homeowners, business owners and municipalities applying or registering for waste discharges; regulators such as Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and Ministry of Agriculture and planners developing various watershed-scale plans for flood and drought.

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