Okanagan – Integrated Farm Water Management Planning Pilot Project [ok03]
|Status||completed in 2018|
|Project Lead||BC Fruit Growers' Association|
|Funding Partners||Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, BC Ministry of Agriculture|
As Okanagan summers become warmer and drier — and there is less water available during critical irrigation windows — producers will be required to adapt their water management practices to suit changing conditions. Expectations for increasing frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events may also contribute to site-specific flooding, erosion and run-off management challenges. During the Okanagan Adaptation Workshops, producers identified increasing the availability of water management tools and information as a high priority, with a particular emphasis on the need for on-farm support.
The Integrated Farm Water Planning Pilot Project tested an on-farm water planning process (and toolkit) with 16 Okanagan producers from a range of different commodities, facing a variety of water-management challenges on their farms. The planning process and toolkit consisted of a series of modules that examined current and future water challenges and opportunities and which covered the full range of water management issues that producers may face (e.g., supply, irrigation, drainage, water quality, etc.), while also considering climate change impacts. This toolkit was originally developed and tested in the Cowichan region and was adapted for the Okanagan context. Producers who participated in the pilot worked with a water field-agent (through phone interviews and an on-site visit) to identify the key water issues on their farm. Producers then received a customized Farm Water Use Plan that documented their farm’s unique water-management considerations, along with a series of strategies and resources to address these challenges and opportunities.
The report provides a detailed summary of the pilot process, summarizes the key water management challenges faced by Okanagan producers (and associated recommendations) and includes an evaluation of the pilot project from the producer’s perspective.