This region includes the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, and the Regional District of North Okanagan. The Okanagan region has a warm growing season and relatively mild winters and springs that have long frost-free periods. The Okanagan’s hot, sunny, dry climate is classified as semi-arid, with the lowest average annual precipitation in southern Canada. The southern Okanagan is drier and hotter than further north, where the growing season is slightly shorter. Temperatures are also warmer in the Okanagan’s valley bottoms than at higher elevations.
Annual precipitation varies across the Okanagan region. The drier, southern part of the region sees an average of 250 millimeters per year, while the northern part and higher elevations see an average of 400 millimeters per year. Lack of precipitation during the growing seasons means that irrigation is needed for most production in the region.
Soil types and agricultural capability vary across the region and by elevation. Most agricultural land is near Okanagan Lake and its tributaries. Parts of the Agricultural Land Reserve are north of Okanagan Lake and around Princeton. There are large differences in soil type in the Okanagan. The southern part of the region has deep sandy soils, and the area around Kelowna has mainly clay and gravel soils. Unimproved soils are Class 4 or 5 due to dryness and topography, but soils can be improved to Class 1, 2 or 3, depending on the severity of limitations.