Community Water Forum

Creating opportunities for compelling conversation and sustainable solutions that protect our shared water resources.

Forests, Freshwater, and People

The Restoration Imperative

80% of our drinking water in BC comes from a forested watershed

Forests cover a large portion (60%) of the landscape in BC and play a vital role in regulating our water supply, filtering our streams, and mitigating drought and flooding.

Wildfires, floods, droughts, landslides and insects such as the Mountain Pine Beetle have all had significant environmental and socio-economic impacts on communities throughout BC. The cumulative effects of these disturbances threaten not only our access to adequate quantities of clean water but other important cultural, social, environmental and economic values as well.

“Forests are critical elements in our aquatic ecosystems. Large-scale disturbances of our forests can increase stream flow and soil erosion and consequently cause floods, landslides and other hazards that affect people and communities.” – Professor Adam Wei, Professor, Forest Hydrology, UBC Okanagan

BC forests are undergoing significant change and climate change is predicted to have adverse effects on the quality and quantity of our water supply in the coming decades. Gaining an understanding of the magnitude and intensity of these potential changes and how to mitigate them is of critical importance.

“British Columbia is already experiencing the effects of global climate change. Variable and extreme weather is becoming more frequent. Scientists expect these changes to accelerate and intensify in the years ahead, creating risks to society, natural resources, and ecosystems. Understanding and managing these risks will help protect B.C.’s residents, industries, and infrastructure while improving prosperity and reducing costs to future generations.”

Excerpt from the Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia, prepared July 2019 for the British Columbia (B.C.) Climate Action Secretariat, B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.


Join us for our third annual Community Water Forum:

Hear from an insightful panel of experts about the important interactions between forests and water, what it will take to restore our forested landscapes, and the steps we can take to safeguard our community watershed.

Event Details:


Date: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Time: 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm
Location: Okanagan Regional Library Kelowna Branch | 1380 Ellis Street

Please RSVP by November 15, 2019. Seating is limited.


Expert panel:


Assistant Professor Mathieu Bourbonnais, UBC Okanagan
LiDAR and remote sensing technologies; environmental and socio-economic impacts of wildfire

Natasha Lukey, Okanagan Nation Alliance
Wetland and floodplain restoration

Professor Adam Wei, UBC Okanagan (Endowed Research Chair in Watershed Management)
Forest hydrology; watershed ecosystems, cumulative effects of forest disturbance

Robert Gray, Wildland Fire Ecologist, R.W. Gray Consulting Ltd.
Fire science, management and operations; landscape level restoration

The Community Water Forum is an annual event hosted by UBC Okanagan’s Office of the Vice-Principal Research, in partnership with the Okanagan Basin Water Board and Okanagan Nation Alliance.

The forum provides an opportunity for open, solution-oriented dialogue on topics of shared interest and concern in our community. The forum is supported by the Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) BC Regional Innovation Chair in Water Resources and Ecosystem Sustainability (Dr. John Janmaat) and the Endowed Research Chairs in Watershed Management (Dr. David Scott and Dr. Adam Wei).