siwɬkʷ (Water) For All – Co-Creating Futures

MARCH 13 – 15, 2024


Join us as we embark on a transformative journey towards a sustainable water future.

This conference is a confluence of experts, visionaries, and community leaders, all united by a shared commitment to our precious aquatic ecosystems.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Canadian Water Resources Association, BC Branch are excited to host siwłkʷ (WATER) FOR ALL – CO CREATING FUTURES Environmental Flows Conference 2024, March 13-15, 2024, in Kelowna, B.C.

This conference will bring together representatives from national and international organizations who are engaged in water management or research, including fisheries and water managers, First Nations, regulators, policy-makers, academia, funders and NGOs. The conference will cover several main themes and will focus on discussing the state of knowledge of Environmental Flows setting in B.C. and recent Environmental Flows related work in the Okanagan and elsewhere in Canada and the United States.

We are in a time of great change in water management in B.C. and across Canada, as governments move forward with reconciliation, and bring policies into line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The upcoming Environmental Flows Conference, held March 13 – 15, 2024 in Kelowna, is a rare opportunity to get an insider’s view of how these changes are evolving, and what they mean for all water users.

Environmental Flows are emerging as the critical lens through which all water-related decisions will be viewed. This conference goes beyond discussing the implementation of Environmental Flows Needs (EFN) legislation, digging into the interplay between fisheries needs and the implications of water shortages, all exacerbated by climate change.

The way we allocate scarce water resources will be strongly influenced by Environmental Flows going forward. This makes it critical to hear from people working at all levels of government, from the agricultural industry, and from representatives of all sectors who extract water from streams and aquifers.

Be a part of this critically important conversation and help chart the future of water management.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and contribute your voice.

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Conference Highlights

Strategic Foresight: Experience the power of forward-thinking as we employ the lens of Strategic Foresight to navigate the challenges and opportunities of our water ecosystems. Learn more.

Grassroots Initiatives: Discover community-led projects that are making waves in water sustainability.

Cutting-Edge Research: Stay updated with the latest research, technologies, and methodologies shaping water management’s future.

READ more

Environmental Flows 2024 – March 13-15

Meet & greets

Field trips

Poster sessions

Community-led projects

Reflections from syilx tradition

Evening activities

Call for Submissions



Program Overview


Day 1



Keynote Addresses

Day 2

Workshops, Field Trips & More

Community Projects Showcase

Day 3 (half-day)

Networking Session

Closing Remarks


Strategic Foresight & Indigenous-Led Conference Format: A Fusion of Tradition and Innovation

At the heart of the Environmental Flows Conference 2024 is our commitment to a facilitation approach seamlessly integrating strategic foresight with indigenous wisdom. Applying the Strategic Foresight process emphasizes the co-creation of trend cards, where participants collaboratively identify, discuss, and visualize emerging patterns in environmental flows. These cards, encapsulating the collective foresight of our community, will culminate in a comprehensive “Conference Trend Card Deck” by the end of our gathering.

But our approach goes beyond mere foresight. Drawing inspiration from the traditional Syilx (Okanagan) decision-making framework, Enowkinwixw, our conference format is a harmonious blend of expert presentations and interactive discussions. Handpicked for their diverse expertise and perspectives, speakers are organized thematically into concise panels. Each panelist delivers a brief 6 to 7-minute presentation, paving the way for guided small-group discussions.

By adopting this format, we aim to foster an environment where tradition meets innovation and every voice, whether echoing from the past or whispering of the future, finds a listening ear.

These discussions allow for the sharing of diverse perspectives, echoing the Syilx governance framework that encourages viewing issues from four distinct angles:

Tradition/Conventions: Symbolized by the Black Bear (Skemxist), the Chief of all land creatures, this perspective emphasizes the importance of historical wisdom and conventions.

Innovation/Vision: Represented by the Saskatoon Berry (Siya), the Chief of all things growing on land, this viewpoint champions forward-thinking and visionary ideas.

Relationships/Connections: Embodied by the Bitterroot (Spitlem), the Chief of all things beneath the ground, this angle stresses the interconnectedness of all things and the significance of relationships.

Action/Goal-Oriented: Signified by the King Salmon (Ntyxtix), the Chief of all aquatic creatures, this perspective focuses on actionable insights and goal-driven strategies.

2024 Conference updates


Launch and Reception – Pacific DataStream

Join DataStream on Wednesday, March 13 from 5:15 to 7 pm to celebrate the launch of Pacific DataStream! 

Bringing the Salmon Home

Bringing the Salmon Home is a short documentary film about the Syilx Okanagan, Secwépemc, and Ktunaxa Nations who are together upholding their sacred responsibility to reintroduce the salmon to the upper Columbia River in Canada, working with the BC and Canadian governments, US Tribal relations and allies along the river to enable fish passage around giant dams.

Early Bird registration rates extended to January 31

The Environmental Flows Conference is happening soon in beautiful Kelowna from March 13-15, 2024. Early bird registration rates have been extended to January 31st. Save up to 25% by registering early! Click here for registration The Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) and the Canadian Water Resources Association (CWRA) warmly invite you to participate in the Environmental …

Workshop #1 – Salt Dilution

North America Stream Hydrographers (NASH) is pleased to announce it will be hosting a training event alongside the EFN conference in Kelowna, BC. This training event focuses on the best practices and standards of the BC RISC Hydrometric Standards for conducting salt dilution discharge measurements. This training event will take place before the conference on Tuesday, March 12, 2024. The event location is TBD but within the Kelowna area. Come train alongside industry experts on hydrometric techniques and instrumentation used in challenging winter flow conditions.

“The future we imagine is the future we create.” ~ Stuart Candy

When you think about the future, what do you imagine? Each of us has a unique vision of the future, one that has been shaped by our experiences, our worldview, our hopes, fears and dreams. At the 2024 Environmental Flows Conference, we are coming together to shape the future of water stewardship. But in an era of disruptive change and competing priorities, how can we collectively shape a future that considers our diverse perspectives and serves multiple needs?

Emerging Trends in Environmental Flow Science: A Canadian and Global Perspective

Environmental flow science, the study of the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater ecosystems, has seen significant advancements in recent years. Researchers, policymakers, and environmentalists collaborate in Canada and globally to understand and address the challenges of changing water regimes. Here, we delve into some of the most prominent trends …

Technical Analysis of Environmental Flows in the Okanagan: A Semi-Arid Challenge

By: Dr. Nelson Jatel, OBWB Water Stewardship Director – August 28, 2023 The Okanagan region, one of Canada’s unique semi-arid zones, presents a distinct set of challenges and opportunities when managing environmental flows. As we approach the Environmental Flow Needs Conference in Kelowna from March 13-15, 2024, we delve deeper into several important technical aspects of …

Environmental Flows 2024: March 13-15, 2024

Greetings to all water enthusiasts, researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders! As we gear up for the Environmental Flows 2024 Conference, it’s essential to reflect on our past to shape our future. Today, I’d like to take you back to the 2018 EFN Conference held on October 17-18, 2018 in the beautiful Syilx Okanagan Nation Territory, Kelowna, …

EFN 2018: A look back

The Environmental Flow Needs Conference 2018: Science, Policy & Practice was held in Kelowna, B.C. from October 17-18, 2018 and brought together representatives from national and international organizations engaged in water management or research, including fisheries and water managers, First Nations, regulators, policy-makers, academia, and NGOs. The conference covered several main themes and focused on …


Environmental Flows

Environmental flows are the quantity, timing, and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater ecosystems. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT environmental flows in the OKANAGAN

2018 Conference photos



Listening, talking, sharing – this is what it’s all about!

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what past attendees say about their experience from the 2018 conference

"The Water Sustainability Act is flexible and offers an opportunity for collaboration and re-framing relationships between water users and water. Flexibility, though comes with the lack of clear rules that can be a challenging obstacle for bureaucrats to overcome.”

Ted White
Director of Water Management and Comptroller of Water Rights, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development

"It’s our responsibility to protect and sustain our water."

Dawn Machin
Biologist, Okanagan Nation Alliance

“Whiskey is for drinking, but water shouldn’t have to be for fighting over.”

(Lee’s revision of a well-known quote about whiskey and water)

Lee Hesketh
Farmland Riparian Interface Stewardship Program

"Water management should be treated as a family matter. It is a good thing that representatives of our extended family are all in the room."

Robert Sandford
EPCOR Chair in Water and Climate Security, United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health

"We are in this together in every sense of the word. Now is a wonderful opportunity to reach out and go back to that place we enjoyed such a long time ago when we were truly and genuinely friends and neighbours. If we can bring all the knowledge here together with the traditional and ecological knowledge of the Syilx people, we’re going to prevail."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip