Similkameen Valley Watershed Study

Similkameen Valley Watershed Project

The Similkameen Valley's watershed is located in the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) - Areas B, G & H and includes lands under jurisdiction of the Town of Princeton, the Village of Keremeos, the Upper Similkameen Indian Band and the Lower Similkameen Indian Band. There are also six irrigation and improvement districts that operate under the authority of the B.C. Local Government Act and community water systems.

In addition to the governing bodies a society was formed to further the interests of communities in the valley - the Similkameen Valley Planning Society (SVPS). The SVPS initiated a multi-part Sustainable Similkameen Project. With funding from the BC Real Estate Foundation, the RDOS and the municipalities of Princeton and Keremeos, the SVPS sponsored the report STRATEGY for a Sustainable Similkameen Valley (2011-2020).

Sustainable Similkameen Project, click the following link:

This report contains a number of Strategic Aims.  With regards to the Watershed, Strategic Aim 2 of the Strategy is to “Sustain and rehabilitate the Valley’s environmental and natural resources health”, which includes:
Strategic Means 7: Improve water management significantly and integrate management into Valley-specific climate change, and
          7.1 – Complete inventory of Valley water quality and quantity, and
          7.2 – Formulate a Water Management Action Plan (including assessment and action for water impoundment and strengthening of international coordination).

The SVPS then commissioned the report, the Similkameen River Water Management Plan Part 1– Scoping Study to identify information gaps and made recommendations on how to proceed with the planning process.

Phase 1 of the planning process, as recommended in the Scoping Study, is to initiate a consultation process via a Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), seek input from Technical Advisors and to develop a Draft Terms of Reference for a Similkameen Watershed Plan (SWP).

Similkameen Watershed Plan:  Phase 1 Report by Summit Environmental Consultants Inc., January 2014

Phase 2 of the Similkameen Watershed Plan (SWP) was considered by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to be the filling of three of the highest-priority information gaps identified during the Phase 1 study:

  1. Assessment of water availability and risk of inadequate supply
  2. Groundwater - surface water interaction
  3. Status and trends analyses of existing water quality data

20150625 Similkameen Watershed Plan - Phase 2 Water Supply, Quality, and Groundwater by Summit Environmental Consultants Inc.

Presentation to RDOS Board December 17, 2015:

Similkameen Watershed Plan: Technical Studies Update, Associated Environmental.

The Similkameen Valley Planning Society is pursuing a NON-regulatory Similkaeen Watershed Plan.  The SWP is intended to provide guidance to decision-making authorities, resource managers, users and residents regarding water and land resources in the watershed.  The RDOS and the SVPS are leading the process.

The University of British Columbia developed a research methodology for quantifying relative contribution of forest disturbance and climatic variability to hydrology in large watersheds.  The objectives of this 4 year project include: (1) development of equivalent disturbance area for both Tulameen River and the whole Similkameen River watersheds considering hydrological recovery following the mountain pine beetle infestation; (2) application of our well established methodology in both watersheds to assess relative contributions of climate variability and forest disturbance (in Tulameen River watershed) or land cover change (in the whole Similkameen River watershed) to hydrology; and (3) Interpretation of the results for designing future water and watershed management plans.

University of British Columbia Progress Reports on the effect of climate and land cover change on water resource sustainability in the Similkameen River Watershed:

Progress Report 1 - August 28, 2015

Progress Report 2 - 2014

Progress Report 1 - July 8, 2014

Progress Report 2 - December 17, 2013

Progress Report 1 - June 22, 2013



For More Information:

Completed Terms of Reference

Background to Project

Stakeholders Advisory Committee

Technical Advisors Objectives

Fraser Basin Council website 'Rethinking Our Water Ways', click the following link to view :

Rethinking Our Water Ways guide by Fraser Basin Council

Similkameen Watershed Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes:

2012 - 

May 15th, SAC

June 14th SAC

July 4th, SAC

Similkameen Watershed Technical Advisory Committee Meeting Minutes:

2012 -

June 4th , TAC 

Meeting Power Point Presentations:

Similkameen Watershed

A Healthy Future for Water, Land and Wildlife in the Similkameen

Groundwater Legislation and Government Tools

BC Ministry of Agriculture:  Agricultural Irrigation Demand Model