Rain gardens in the Okanagan?

Rain water capture and re-use installations provide homeowners and communities a wide range of benefits.

You can attend a free workshop to learn more about rain gardens.

Local water conservation organizations agree that rain water capture and re-use installations provides the homeowner and community a wide range of benefits. Organizations world-wide believe in rain water re-use too. In 2014, the RBC Blue Water Project Grant selection committee awarded the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen a $90,000 grant to help promote storm water reduction options through focussed workshops and a variety of rain garden installations throughout the Okanagan Basin.

These installations not only beautify your landscape, but work to replenish the soil moisture deficit that occurs each summer in the Okanagan. Once constructed, these gardens make water work more efficiently. The design insures that water is moved away from building foundations and into the landscape where it is available to plant material, keeping it lush and healthy.

Another feature of a rain garden is a ponding area. These depressions help to take advantage of run-off during a storm event by holding the water, slowly allowing it to sink into the ground. Slow infiltration (under two days) filters the water, reducing run-off volumes and pollutants entering the storm water system.

Rain gardens and bio-retention installations are being constructed in Vernon’s Polson Park, at the entrance to the new bridge over Mission Creek along Kelowna’s Lakeshore Drive, at a private residence in Kelowna, and the South Okanagan Regional District’s main office in Penticton. Once completed these examples will be open to the public, well signed with online construction details available.

Valley-wide partners came together in support of this project, adding additional funding and expertise including: the Okanagan Basin Water Board’s – Make Water Work Campaign, all three regional districts, the Cities of Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton and the Okanagan Xeriscape Association.

Kelowna and area residents can take advantage of a free Rain Garden workshop on May 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Environment Education Centre 2363 Springfield Rd., at Mission Creek Park main building.

Pre- registration is a must. Call 1-800 610 -3737, extension 4110 to register.