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Water Quality Program

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The Shuswap Watershed Council is focused on a watershed-wide, collaborative program to maintain and enhance water quality “at the source.” This is different from the role of water suppliers to treat and deliver drinking water “at the tap.”

Source water protection is a first line of defence. This is possible only through collaboration and voluntary efforts since no single agency has responsibility for keeping the watershed healthy.

Taking steps to protect Shuswap water resources is an important investment in the future of the region. It is easier and less costly to manage small problems now, while water quality is generally good, than to try to fix more serious problems later.

Program Overview

In May 2015 the SWC endorsed a five-year program on water quality and recreational safety: see Water Quality Program and Recreational Safety Education Program in the Shuswap Watershed (2016-2020).

The program began in 2016, with financial support from the CSRD, TNRD and City of Salmon Arm.

This program will complement and support the work of agencies with responsibilities for water, and will not duplicate any functions. The program consists of two initiatives:

1) WATER MONITORING

  • Monitoring water quality in the lakes, tributaries and groundwater of the Shuswap to track the overall health of the watershed
  • Efficient coordination of work among all monitoring partners, to cut duplication and ensure efficiency
  • Data analysis to identify water quality trends
  • Identification of emerging issues
  • Public reports on monitoring results.

2) WATER PROTECTION

With guidance from an advisory committee, the Water Protection Initiative will support:

  • Work by scientists from UBC-Okanagan to research the source(s) and flow-path(s) of excessive phosphorus and other nutrients into the large rivers of the Shuswap watershed
  • Water quality improvement projects
  • Dialogue with leaders in the agricultural sector to find out what education, incentives and support will work best in the sector.

Why an emphasis on Phosphorus?

Aquatic life such as algae, invertebrates, and fish need nutrients such as phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon to grow and reproduce. Naturally-occurring nutrients are important for making a lake or river biologically productive, and supporting a healthy ecosystem. It is important for nutrients – phosphorus in particular – to remain in a balance with plants and animals in the ecosystem. Too high a concentration of nutrients can reduce water clarity, create odours, and reduce the quality of water for drinking and recreation.

 

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and throughout BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society. We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

FBC Project and
Partner Sites

E3 Fleet/Green Fleets BC:
www.e3fleet.com

Plug in BC:
www.pluginbc.ca

BuySmart Network:
www.buysmartbc.com

BC Rural Network:
www.bcruralnetwork.ca

Rethinking our Water Ways:
www.rethinkingwater.ca

ReTooling for Climate Change:
www.retooling.ca

Climate Action Toolkit:
www.toolkit.bc.ca

Contact Us

FBC has offices in Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George. We also have staff located in Abbotsford and Vernon.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff.

Our main office is:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350
F: 604 488-5351
E: