The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) has received $25,000 in grant funding from the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) for the Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant program. The project that RDOS is undertaking will help improve source water protection.
Source water protection is part of a broad, multi-barrier approach to delivering clean, safe, and reliable drinking water. The decision to protect drinking water sources is challenging when information about the locations and features of drinking water sources is not readily available, and when there is a lack of knowledge on how contaminants can reach a drinking water source.
The RDOS is working with Associated Environmental, Interior Health, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. This is to develop a geographic information system-capable file that will identify each supply well or surface water intake and their delineated Drinking Water Protection Area. These data layers will be stored on the RDOS GIS system as well as the on the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy BC Geographic Warehouse (BC Data Catalogue).
Creating these data files will provide easier access to information on the boundaries where surface water and groundwater is sourced for community drinking water systems within the RDOS. “This grant is an opportunity to improve knowledge needed for the successful implementation of water conservation and water quality programs,” said RDOS Chair Karla Kozakevich. “Providing easier access to information about where the areas are for protecting drinking water sources are beneficial when considering new builds or agricultural discharge applications.”
Interior Health and drinking water supplies have typically driven local source water protection planning in the past, but over recent years, the water community and public have grown increasingly aware of its importance. Once finalized, data will be available to help:
- Drinking water providers complete more source protection planning and better handle emergency responses.
- Homeowners, business owners, and municipalities that are applying or registering for waste discharges better understand where drinking water sources are located relative to their plans.
- Regulators such as Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and Ministry of Agriculture to review discharge applications or respond to complaints.
- Planners developing various watershed-scale plans for flood and drought.