Syilx youth take part in traditional water ceremony. Photo: Okanagan Nation Alliance

Events help Okanagan Valley celebrate Water Week

A River Film documentary screened March 21 in Kelowna; Syilx water tour March 22

A film about Okanagan Valley water issues will be a focal point of the Canada Water Week/United Nations Water Day celebrations this month.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board will showcase a screening of the 40-minute documentary A River Film on Wednesday, March 21, at the Mary Irwin Theatre in the Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave.

The event, which runs from 6 to 8:30 p.m., will also include a question-and-answer discussion following the film’s showing, information booths set up by non-profit organizations working on water issues, and refreshments.

A River Film presents an insightful look at the many competing needs for water within the Okanagan Valley and how those demands are managed between B.C. and Washington government authorities.

Related: Documentary examines water conflicts

The documentary was co-financed by the Okanagan Basin Water Board and its OkWaterWise initiative, the International Joint Commission (IJC) overseeing Canada-U.S. co-management of the Okanagan River system and the Washington State Department of Ecology.

It is produced by Kelowna-based Ascent Films, as director Jiri Bakala examines the complexity of issues facing Okanagan Valley water management from agriculture irrigation and recreation use demands to flood control and salmon fisheries enhancement measures.

The water board is also partnering with the Okanagan Nation Alliance to host a Syilx Water Tour on March 22, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., co-sponsored by TIDES Canada and First Nation Health Authority.

The tour is intended to help gain a deeper understanding of the importance of natural waterways to the Syilx indigenous people.

The day will start with a water ceremony led by Syilx elders and knowledge holders at Mission Creek in Kelowna, followed by stops at the kł cp̓əlk̓ stim̓ hatchery south of Penticton, the Penticton Oxbows Restoration site and other significant water places to the Syilx people.

Drinking water protection and wetlands restoration experts will join in the tour, which will include a lunch break at the En’owkin Centre in Penticton.

Register online at

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