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Nelson Jatel graduated with a Master’s degree in Water governance from the University
of British Columbia and has a B.Sc in Freshwater Science. Nelson brings a unique set of leadership skills that include both applied and academic perspective to all of his consulting and project management work. He is involved in a number of practical water governance initiatives, implementing complex water governance strategies both through government agencies and in the private sector.

Nelson is passionate about applying social network analysis in a range of applied settings. As a community builder he is actively evolved in a number of water governance organizations including the Okanagan Basin Water Board's Okanagan Water Stewardship Council where he plays a pivotal leadership role in implementing practical solutions that re.ect the best available science, innovative policy and consensus approaches. With Nelson's leadership the Okanagan Water Stewardship won the prestigious national Council of the Federation (2013) - a collaboration of Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers - award for excellence.

He founded Limnology Research in 2001 to provide a number specialized and applied communication, governance and project management expertise and worked closely with the Okanagan University College’s BC Water Institute. The Limnology Research team provides water policy, decision, and governance support. We work closely with our clients to meet your individual project needs. 

Nelson teaches Applied Water Law at Okanagan College. Nelson’s active research and day-to-day water governance and management work related experience provides a unique perspective for water engineering students who learn about water related acts and regulations with a focus on applying these laws to common water related industry activities. As part of this course Nelson teaches ethics and decision theory as well as legal issues associated with: permit applications, First Nation laws and governance systems, environmental monitoring standards and permitted tolerance levels, liability, regulatory agencies, and inter-agency relationships -with an emphasis on the responsibility of the water engineering technologist.

Select OBWB projects led by Nelson:

Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy
In October 2008, the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council released the Okanagan Sustainable Water Strategy, a comprehensive guide to water management practices that will help us adapt to changing climate and rising water demand and work toward long-term water sustainability in the Okanagan Basin. The Strategy was developed at the request of the OBWB Directors, who asked for a document that would bring together information about Okanagan water issues and make recommendations about how these issues should be addressed.

The Council and external reviewers devoted thousands of hours in preparation of the Strategy. Their .ndings, conclusions, and recommended actions are based on a remarkable degree of consensus among all participants.
The Strategy brings together extensive technical information about the Basin and highlights the most important water management issues and how they connect to one another. The Strategy includes recommended actions designed to protect water at its source, share water in times of shortages, manage water demand, and identify the best structure for valley-wide governance. Having all of this information laid out and explained in one document means that the Board can act on those recommendation that match their current priorities and capacity.

Groundwater Bylaws Toolkit
The Groundwater Bylaws Toolkit, is an appendix to the Green Bylaws Toolkit (, and was developed by the OBWB and partners to help local governments protect the quality and quantity of groundwater within their own geographic and legislative jurisdictions. This includes monitoring groundwater quality and quantity, protecting aquifers, and maximizing water recharge instead of surface runoff.

The Toolkit presents the basic principles of groundwater science, outlines the jurisdiction for managing groundwater, and provides practical land use management tools for local government to protect groundwater. It clearly explains each tool, and provides sample policy and bylaw language that can be tailored to each unique area. It also provides case studies that highlight the best practices in groundwater protection already in use by local governments in BC.

Okanagan Groundwater Monitoring Project
The Okanagan Groundwater Monitoring Project was an initiative to increase the monitoring of priority aquifers in the Okanagan region. The project was led by Nelson at the OBWB and involved collaboration between local, provincial and federal government. The purpose of the project is to obtain data pertaining to and to monitor, over time, various Okanagan aquifers, to provide a case study for aquifer measurement and monitoring, and to assist in the development of protocols and best practices for other ground water observation wells for optimizing th value of data through a local or regional community engagement process. The objectives of the project included: (1) understanding local and regional hydrogeological processes and characteristics, and (2) supporting effective use of the resource and minimize groundwater con.icts between users. This project resulted in 13 new observation being drilled in priority sensitive aquifers throughout the Okanagan -these wells continue to provide critical information to support better decisions by local and senior levels of government.

BC Water Use Reporting Centre

The BC Water Use Reporting Centre is a simple web-based system designed to help utilities and large water users regularly record water use. Once entered, the data is securely held until Provincial reporting is required; then with a click of a button, reports can be printed. In the Okanagan, we must use the best available tactics and strategies to manage our water. As new technologies emerge, we can now report quicker, with less effort, and more frequently than ever before. Water use reporting is more than simply meeting regulations. The more often we report, the more accurate our data is, and the more responsive we can be to shortages.

The vision of the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) is to have a fully-integrated water system, meeting the needs of residents and agriculture while supporting wildlife and natural areas. The OBWB, in partnership with the Province of BC and Environment of Canada, has launched an online water management and reporting system that will help you make smarter decisions today for a better, stronger tomorrow.

Nelson was previously the Executive Director of the Okanagan Partnership - a business led non-pro.t focused on collaboration and identifying practical 'small solutions' to support a globally competitive Okanagan. In his spare time, Nelson enjoys outdoor activities, sports, local food and wine, and helps manage their family vineyard in Naramata.


Melissa Tesche been working with local government water issues since 2010. Ms. Tesche worked for the Okanagan Basin Water Board, .rst as Grants Coordinator, and then as their Water Projects Coordinator, and now as an independent consultant where her clients include: the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Tides Canada, Western Water Associates, and the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program.

Melissa’s experience in local water issues is complemented with her training and experience in people management, and speci.cally, in process facilitation. Melissa believes that people are the biggest asset in any company or community, and she is skilled at building bridges between divided parties and enabling group cooperation. Select projects led by Ms. Tesche:

Growing a WaterWise Community in the Okanagan: Strategic Workshop – Tides Canada
In spring of 2014, Tides Canada selected the Okanagan as one of three areas to hold a convening with the goal of helping the communities grapple with urban water issues. Melissa served as project manager and process facilitator for the workshop, which brought representatives from 11 different local governments, together with representatives from the irrigation, landscape, and nursery owners. The meeting was aimed at strengthening connections between government and industry to build on existing cooperative efforts at valley-wide water conservation.

Keeping Up with the Climate, Keeping Up with Technology Workshop – Okanagan Basin Water Board
In March 2012, the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) launched its Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Program (CCIAP), an innovative project to speed the uptake of climate change adaption tools by local government in the Okanagan. Melissa served as project lead for the workshop, which aimed at getting cutting-edge tools out to the engineers and planners at the front-lines of climate change adaption. Through demonstrations and hands-on components, participants were exposed to four new decision support tools.

Sewage Facilities Grant Program Internal Audit and Streamlining – Okanagan Basin Water Board
Melissa initiated and resolved a full audit of a long-term $2 million/year grant program that leverages valley-wide tax dollars to help communities in the watershed improve their sewage treatment facilities and transfer neighbourhoods off septic. Through the audit process, Melissa worked with each of the 13 local governments in the valley, and successfully streamlined and adapted administration procedures to reduce information loss of the lifetime of the grants.

What does your social network look like?

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