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Our goals


Okanagan WaterWise has four central goals:

1) To bring residents of the Okanagan valley together with the understanding that our water source is connected — we all share the same water;

2) To increase awareness among valley residents about water issues in the Okanagan;

3) To support Okanagan residents in making positive changes in their own water habits that will protect the quality and quantity of our valley's water; and

4) To share ideas about how we can all do something to keep this place special — preserving the unique character of the region.

 

The 'Myth of Abundance'

Although it may seem like we have an endless supply of water, Okanagan Lake – the primary source of our water – is managed to fill only 1.5 metres (4.9 feet) in an average year.

It refills thanks to melting snow and precipitation, mostly in the spring.

In fact, Okanagan Lake is managed to only hold 1.5 metres of spring inflow (the difference between low and high water levels) to protect the valley from flooding.

And in very dry years, the lake may not refill a full 1.5 metres.

 

Lake Mead levels have dropped dramatically  

The Case of Lake Mead


Lake Mead, in Nevada, is similar in size to Lake Okanagan. The combination of several years of drought and increasing human demand means that water from Lake Mead is being used faster than nature can replenish it.

Lake levels have dropped dramatically.

As of September 2020, the lake is at 41.4 metres (136 feet) below the full water line. The top of the white rock face shows the height of the full water level.

Using more water than nature can replenish is often referred to as "mining the lake," because the water used is almost impossible to replace.

 

Can you imagine what this would be like in the Okanagan?

Boaters pass in front of a white 'bathtub ring' on Lake Mead
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Docks without water
Empty boat slips protrude from the dock at the abandoned Echo Bay
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

 



"We are one community, one valley, one water."

Okanagan WaterWise is an education and outreach program of the Okanagan Basin Water Board
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