Learn More!

Check out our Useful Links:

Links to more water-quality related resources

Contact OLWQS

Birgit Arnstein, President



Working together to protect our common resources


OLWQS Annual General Meeting May 27

May 2016 - The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS) conducted its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Osoyoos Sonora Centre on Friday May 27.  OLWQS members and the general public were welcome to attend and encouraged to join the society.  The society is in need of members interested in volunteering some of their time as a board member or water monitoring during July through September, as well as for other projects approved by the board.


OLWQS Hosts Lake Appreciation Day at Gyro Beach

May 2016 - The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS) hosted Lake Appreciation Day at Gyro Beach May 21st, 2016.  The event provided the public with an opportunity to listen to spreakers supporting the conservation and appreciation of Osoyoos Lake.  The event also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the OLWQS and enabled viewing of the water monitoring boat and equipment.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


OLWQS Executive Changes in 2015

June 2015 - A volunteer group monitoring water quality in Osoyoos Lake has seen a turnover of its board membership and is trying to attract new blood. The Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society (OLWQS) takes weekly readings of temperatures, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and acidity at several locations in the lake between July and September.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Salmon run faces catastrophe this year

July 29, 2015 - Sockeye salmon are dying off in huge numbers on the Columbia River and very few have made it to Osoyoos Lake, prompting the extended closure of the recreational and commercial fisheries this year.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


CBSA officials finally given powers to intercept invasive mussels at border

June 24, 2015 - Long-awaited federal regulations that allow border officials to stop and detain boats carrying invasive mussels came into effect last week.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Mussel inspections to double in B.C. with funding from Columbia Basin Trust

July 15, 2015 - The effort to intercept invasive mussels in B.C. is doubling thanks to a $360,000 contribution from the Columbia Basin Trust.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Invasive mussels found during checks on intercepted boats coming into B.C.

September 10, 2015 - Invasive mussels have been intercepted on boats coming into B.C. from outside the province this summer.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Water expert from Las Vegas details devastation caused by invasive mussels

September 10, 2015 - What’s happened in Vegas will hopefully stay in Vegas and not ever come to the Okanagan Valley when it comes to invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Former Mayor Wells talks to Rotarians about water issues on Osoyoos Lake

August 26, 2015 - Stu Wells, the former Osoyoos Mayor and former chair of the Okanagan Basin Water Board, spoke about water at the Rotary Club of Osoyoos luncheon recently.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Milfoil growth four to six weeks early this year

June 30, 2015 - The unusually early seasons have also caused Eurasian milfoil to make an early appearance in the Okanagan lakes.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Salmon Run into Osoyoos Lake Varies by Year

Low spring runoff and above-normal temperatures have negatively impacted  the 2015 salmon run.  Conversely, the 2014 salmon run was quite successful.  July 9, 2014 - Experts were expecting between 300,000 and 400,000 sockeye salmon to make the long trek from the Pacific Ocean and Columbia River system in the United States into Osoyoos Lake.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


Many Citizens Angry as Milfoil Out of Control on Osoyoos Lake

August 6, 2014 - Many Osoyoos residents are upset and complaining about the abnormally high levels of milfoil growth in Osoyoos Lake in the summer of 2014, but there’s nothing the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB), which runs the milfoil control program, can do about it after the provincial and federal government halted milfoil harvesting to protect fish habitat.

Read article from Osoyoos Times


State of the Lake

In-depth report on the STATE OF OSOYOOS LAKE 2005-2011, released in March 2014 from the British Columbia Lake Stewardship Society. (download pdf)


Discoloured Water 

Is your tap water discoloured?  This is due to increased spring flows. Find out more here


How High Can the Water Go?

Spring is here and you'll begin to see lake water levels rise. How high can they go? Who manages the water levels? Find out here


Valley Wetlands 

Work is under way to protect Okanagan Valley's remaining wetlands:

Article from Kelowna Capital News, October 27, 2013

Okanagan Basin Water Board - 2014 details of the Okanagan Wetlands Strategy: Phase 1


Mussel Trouble

Mussels poised to invade the Okanagan: watch VIDEO

Invasive mussel-infested boat stopped at Osoyoos border crossing

Why is Osoyoos Lake Important?

  • The lake is home to a large variety of aquatic life and several endangered species
  • It is 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.

Osoyoos Lake Appreciation Day

Saturday May 21, 2016 from 2:00PM to 5:00PM @ Gyro Park

Presented by the Osoyoos Lake Water Quality Society

  • Opening: Chief Clarence Louie, Mayor Sue McKortoff & Arnie Marchand
  • Keynote Speaker: Anna Warwick Sears
  • OLWQS 25th Anniversary Cake
  • Music by Route 33
  • Viewing of OLWQS Boat and water sampling equipment
  • Kids Zone Play Area

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.