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Working together to protect our common resources

Why is Osoyoos Lake Important?

  • The lake is home to a large variety of aquatic life and several endangered species
  • It is a crucial waterway for the Columbia River salmon run
  • It supplies water for our homes, businesses, agriculture, and recreation
  • It's the number one attraction in Osoyoos for residents and visitors

The lake has its own ecosystem.  Insects, fish, predators, lakeshore vegetation – even things like temperature and oxygen content, are inter-related.  Take out one tiny part of it and the entire balance is upset, creating a ‘domino’ effect.  With an increase in population and development, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure nothing is done to harm its already vulnerable waters and surrounding aquifers.

The Society

The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society was founded in 1991 by community members to help promote public awareness of the lake, covering issues such as conservation, pollution, and lake management. It is a nonpolitical, non-profit charitable organization run entirely by volunteers.


Challenges to Osoyoos Lake Health

  • Increased lakeshore development, altering the shoreline and destroying fish habitat. 
  • Wetlands and oxbows – nature’s water filter and answer to flood control – have also disappeared.
  • An increase in the geese population. Their droppings can carry disease such as E. coli.
  • Increased demands on the water supply by both agriculture and residential. Water in the Okanagan is not an infinite resource.
  • Increase in boat traffic resulting in erosion, water and noise pollution, and safety issues.
  • Decades of runoff from agricultural practices and nutrient deposits directly into the Lake.
  • Runoff from streets via storm drains which lead directly to the Lake.
  • An accumulation of pollution from the Okanagan River and communities to the north of us.
  • An increase of chemicals has created ideal conditions for milfoil and other aquatic weeds.