City receives grant for extensive water source assessment

The City of Penticton has been awarded a $16,022 grant from the Okanagan Basin Water Board to conduct a "source to tap" assessment of the Penticton Creek watershed.

"A source assessment is the first step to creating a comprehensive plan and approach to protecting the quality of our drinking water," said Brent Edge, Water Quality Supervisor at the City of Penticton Water Treatment Facility. "We want to know what is going on in our watershed, and then use that information as a planning resource."

The City of Penticton applied to the OBWB's Water Conservation and Quality Improvement Grant Program for $30,000, the maximum available under the program. The City set aside $60,000 in the 2012 budget to conduct the assessment by a specialized field consultant. The Water Board approved $16,022, which will cover a portion of the assessment and allow the City to facilitate implementation of subsequent recommendations.

The grant funding supports a six-month assessment process which will identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities that could alter the safety and sustainability of the water supply. The key component will be to identify activities in the watershed that could impact water quality, such as cattle roaming into streams, mining, logging along creek beds or road drainage running into the creek. Once potential issues are identified, the action plan will be built into recommendations for City staff to follow.

The area to be studied is extensive; Greyback Mountain Lake will be reviewed including the sub-basins of Upper Greyback, Dennis Creek, Penticton Creek, Municipal Creek, Harris Creek and Steward Creek. In addition to a report on source protection, the assessment will generate maps of the watershed. Those will identify elements like roads, grazing sites or camping locations that are otherwise unknown to water quality planners.

"We are very pleased to support the source to tap watershed assessment of Penticton Creek and to be working with the City of Penticton to promote sustainable management of our eco-systems," said Anna Warwick Sears, Executive Director of the Okanagan Basin Water Board.