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Maintaining Okanagan Lake as high-quality water source ‘critical’: Kelowna city staff

Council adopts principles in development of water security plan for Kelowna
Okanagan Lake. (Black Press file photo)

Developing a water security plan will be a focus for Kelowna city staff over the next few months.

The process was outlined to council at its Feb. 13 meeting.

“What are we doing, and what can we do as a city to provide leadership in ensuring that our water systems, Okanagan Lake, and our creeks are maintained for a healthy environment and to support our community,” explained Rod MacLean, utilities planning manager.

READ MORE: kɬusx̌nitkʷ: The original and accurate name for ‘Okanagan Lake’

MacLean told council that future water plans require that Okanagan Lake and upland watersheds remain high-quality sources.

“This is absolutely critical to the city of Kelowna.”

The city will be starting a number of projects this year for long-term water supply needs, according to a staff report.

“Underlying all of this is an assurance that we are properly servicing the needs of our community,” added MacLean.

He also noted that there are competing philosophies, amongst provincial ministries, Interior Health, and local governments, regarding how water should be handled and dealt with.

“On top of this, we have an additional factor where we’re starting to see some of the regulatory processes being moved over to Indigenous rights and Indigenous obligations. There is an opportunity here to align the Sylix water declaration, for example, with our own principles.”

Council adopted nine water-related principles in a staff report to guide the development of the water security plan.

Staff will engage with council, stakeholders, and the community in putting together the draft plan which should be completed by the fall.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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