Water Quality Program
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.
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
2) WATER PROTECTION
With guidance from an advisory committee, the Water Protection Initiative will support:
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.
SWIM GUIDE APP
Get up-to-date information about the water quality at beaches – including some popular ones in the Shuswap – using the Swim Guide app.
The app is free and easy to use, and will provide you with recreational water quality for 7000 beaches and swimming sites in Canada, the US, Mexico and New Zealand.
EVERYONE CAN PLAY A ROLE!
Everyone in the Shuswap can help protect water quality. This is so whether you are a farmer choosing fertilizers, a houseboat operator managing greywater, or an individual homeowner looking to lighten your footprint.
How homeowners can help:
Also check out the SWC Water Protection Initiative brochure.
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Have you heard ... I Don't Flush!
Pledge not to flush personal care products, such as floss, swabs and wipes, to help keep water quality and sanitary sewers in shipshape.
NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT REPORT
A new report on nutrient management in the Shuswap is now available: see Agricultural Nutrient Management in the Shuswap Watershed for Maintaining and Improving Water Quality.
The report canvasses current research and management practices for reducing phosphorus loading on agricultural land and for reducing the movement of phosphorus from agricultural land into surface water. It sets opportunities for further research, education and dialogue, and strategies to improve phosphorus management.
The Shuswap Watershed Council commissioned the report to assist in the development of its five-year program.