April 02, 2014 - 3:00 PM
OKANAGAN - Protecting valley water is what the Okanagan Basin Water Board had in mind when they approved $300,000 to fund 20 proposed projects.
Each project is aimed at conservation and improving the quality of the water in the valley. The 20 Quality Improvement Grants were approved at the regular board meeting April 1 out of 26 applications totalling $592,778.
"Like every year, we had more proposals than funding available and a very strong pool of applications," board Office and Projects Manager James Littley said in a press release.
Summer students will be hired by Greater Vernon Water and trained in the north Okanagan for a water auditing program that's expanding from working with residents to include commercial and agricultural property owners. Students will be reaching out to encourage water conservation.
"Residential outdoor water use is the second largest use of water in the Okanagan with it spiking in summer," Littley said. "The water board see this as an important project, partnering well with our valley-wide Make Water Work outdoor water conservation initiative. We are also pleased to see greater engagement with the agricultural and business community."
Updated flood mapping is also needed for the Okanagan, and the Regional District of Central Okanagan was awarded funds to conduct flood plain assessments for flood hazards and to understand risks to such things as water quality and opportunities to address them.
"As infrastructure ages and as climate change results in more severe flooding in the Okanagan, the work of RDCO will be important in assisting communities throughout the valley to understand best practices in mitigating future flood risks," Littley said.
As for the south, the Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society and Friends of the Park Rill were awarded funds to improve and protect the park Rill watercourse near Oliver. The project will identify species at risk and areas needing protection, and will include outreach to area landowners on how to protect the area, and identify areas for restoration and enhancement.
"We see this as a great opportunity for the community to get involved in helping protect an important waterway in the Okanagan."
Since the program began awarding funds in 2006, some $2.7 million has been provided to 179 projects throughout the Okanagan.
Image Credit: Okanagan Basin Water Board
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