March 07, 2016 - 4:30 PM
PENTICTON - Another step toward the creation of a plan for the Similkameen Valley watershed.
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is moving into phase three of the Watershed Plan initiative.
An information base was established by members of the Similkameen Valley Planning Society in 2011 to identify watershed resources and information gaps with respect to the Similkameen Valley watershed.
At that point the watershed plan was established, with goals to improve water management in the valley while looking at localized effects of climate change on the watershed, in addition to compiling an inventory of water quality and quantity, something that had not been done before.
The planning society who work with the regional district’s Public Works Department to complete the plan, is made up of local municipal, regional and First Nations governing bodies.
Phase One included data collection, identification of possible external funding and partnerships, in addition to identifying several information gaps that needed to be addressed before the plan could move forward.
Phase Two of the plan assessed water supply and quality in addition to studying the valley’s groundwater interaction with the Similkameen River.
Similkameen Valley Planning Society Chair Manfred Bauer says Phase three is expected to provide a more detailed assessment of groundwater inventory in addition to making some projections about future agricultural demands for water in the Similkameen. He says the main task in Phase three is to establish realistic scenarios for future agricultural water demand in the Similkameen over the next 30 years.
Phase three will also see a final compilation of the entire watershed plan.
The document, when completed, will provide guidance to watershed stakeholders, decision making authorities, natural resource managers, commercial water users and watershed residents with respect to land and water resource in the Similkameen Valley watershed. The plan is nonregulatory and will be integrated into other local planning documents, policies and best management practises.
Two open houses are planned for the public to view the completed phase two report, with an open house in Keremeos at Victory Hall on April 12 at 6 p.m. and one in Princeton on April 13 at 6 p.m. at the Riverside Centre.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016