Water fund flows for 10 years

In 2016, there is $300,000 available for projects that conserve water or improve its quality.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board is celebrating 10 years of water funding through its water conservation and quality improvement grant program.

In all, OBWB has awarded $3.2 million to 197 projects. The groups behind these efforts, in turn, delivered projects worth more than $20 million. Projects include stream restoration work for fish, flood mitigation, and improved ecosytems, xeriscape demonstration gardens, water metering, foreshore inventory mapping, drinking water protection efforts like cattle-fencing, and much more.

“When you see the work that has been done, it’s fantastic,” said Doug Findlater, OBWB chairperson.

“The grant program was started in 2006 as a way to build collaborative approaches to address water issues in our region and develop best practices.”

In 2016, there is $300,000 available for projects that conserve water or improve its quality.

Eligible recipients include non-profit community groups, local governments (regional districts or municipalities), and irrigation or improvement districts. Successful applicants can receive up to $30,000 for their project.

The grants are distributed according to the percentage of tax each region pays into the program. This year, there will be $56,820 for the North Okanagan, $180,660 for the Central Okanagan and $62,520 for the South Okanagan.

“This year, the board is calling for projects that focus on drought planning, groundwater studies and water flow monitoring which should assist water managers better understand the state of our water supplies and adapt to extreme events like floods and droughts,” said James Littley, operations and grants manager.

“We all saw how bad the drought was across the province last summer,” he added.  “Going forward, the board wants to ensure it plays a positive roll, helping develop proper resources to assist Okanagan communities in becoming resilient in the face of extreme weather events.”

The complete program guide and application forms can be found at www.obwb.ca/wcqi. The deadline application is Feb. 12.