The Okanagan Basin is our home, a very special place. It has been home to First Nations peoples for thousands of years, and to many others over the last century and a half. Water has always been the basin's most valuable resource for both humans and nature. Today, our economy, agriculture, home use, and recreation continue to share these waters with nature.
We live in a dry landscape. The large lakes make water look abundant, but nature's yearly resupply is small. As our population is growing rapidly, so is our demand for water. Climate is changing and future water supplies are uncertain. Will there be enough water for our children and grandchildren? To meet the needs of humans and nature, we will have to rethink our water use, and value it more highly.
Our population is growing rapidly
What is the Okanagan Basin?
A river basin or watershed is high at its edges and low in the centre where the waters flow. The Okanagan Basin includes all the land that feeds water to our big lakes. Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton, and Osoyoos all lie within the Okanagan Basin. The Okanagan River drains the lakes and flows south across the International Boundary as a small tributary to the Columbia River.
Where does water from the Okanagan Basin go? Okanagan Basin water flows into the Columbia River, past the city of Portland, to the Pacific Ocean.