Six grants totaling $84,040 were handed out by the Okanagan Basin Water Board to projects in the South Okanagan.
In total, $300,000 in grant funding was approved throughout the Okanagan by the board.
“This program is a great way to support non-profits in our community and local governments to do on-the-ground tangible work that improves water in our valley for people as well as everything else that depends on stable, clean water supply,” said Dr. Anna Warwick Sears, executive director for the OBWB.
The City of Penticton received one of the largest grants in the southern region to complete a source assessment of Penticton Creek in the same manner as many other water utilities throughout the valley. Risks to water supply and quality throughout the watershed will be assessed.
Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens received $25,000 to implement a large-scale water conservation pilot project on the Okanagan’s largest ornamental gardens to reduce water use in landscaping, enhance habitat and engage the public in water stewardship.
Other projects that received funds in the South Okanagan include the Town of Osoyoos for a pilot test for groundwater quality, the Okanagan Nation Alliance to assess the feasibility of changing water intake levels on the Oxbow Lakes of Okanagan River and to monitor water quality as part of the Okanagan River restoration initiative, and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen received funding for the water ambassador program to reduce outdoor water consumption in Naramata, West Bench and Sage Mesa.
The OBWB received 39 applications that were reviewed and ranked on a number of criteria including basin-wide benefit, focus on action, collaboration and promotion of best practices.
“The water in this valley is all connected. This grant program is a way to bring residents of the Okanagan together to take on projects that improve water in their own backyards, but which also have valley-wide benefit. We have one valley, one water,” said Warwick Sears.