Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Regional Water Conservation Order update

Christian Davis - At their regular meeting of August 23, council for the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 discussed a report and related recommendations by Director of Operations regarding the Regional Water Conservation Order issued July 8, 2016 by MD Public Works Superintendent Stu Weber. which is still in effect.

At that time Weber issued a statement saying "The MD has been notified by Alberta Environment that our water intake in the Castle River is suspended immediately, due to low water flow rates. This means the MD will not be transferring water to the Lundbreck or Cowley water storage facilities until alternate plans can be arranged."

Currently, according to the MD's website, "The Municipal District, working with Alberta Environment and Parks has implemented a emergency pump and pipeline into the Oldman Dam Reservoir. This has enabled us to treat water on an as required basis rather than hauling by truck. We appreciate the conservation initiatives that our residents have implemented and request that you continue to not water your lawns. The water standpipe in Cowley will be reopened effective Saturday August 27, 2016 at 8:00 am for your convenience."

According to Reedyk's report to council (edited here slightly for brevity), "On July 7, 2016 the Municipal District was informed by Alberta Environment and Parks that the water levels in the Castle River had dropped below the water conservation objectives (WCO) identified in the water licences for Lundbreck and Cowley."

"Following the initiation of water restrictions, staff initiated trucking services from the Town of Pincher Creek to the reservoirs in Cowley and Lundbreck. JaCar and Triple "T" Energy hauled 286 - 12 m3 loads of water between July 8 and August 3. The total cost to date for trucking water has reached approximately $55,000."

"On July 11, staff met to come up with a short to midterm plan that could reduce or eliminate the reliance on a trucked water service. Alberta Environment and Parks forwarded information on their Emergency Water Pump Program that was forwarded to Council at their July 12, 2016 meeting for ratification. Although some technical issues slowed the process for installing the pumps, by August 3rd they were working with some consistency. Managing issues with the reservoir level, pump and piping is ongoing."

"The temporary water pipe is 8" irrigation pipe. As the potential WCO's may last into winter, the raw water pipeline project has been fast tracked to get the permanent pipe in the ground as soon as possible. The tender closing date for that project is August 24, 2016. This would install the pipe to the north edge of the Crown land, adjacent to the reservoir where the pump control building will be built. The temporary pump at the edge of the reservoir would still be required to provide raw water to the regional system in this scenario, as the permanent pump control building and intake pumps are not projected to be completed until 2017."

Reedyk's report continues "A longer term solution for the raw water shortage, is to get a temporary transfer of water allocation from another water licence holder on the Castle River. The licence holder with the most available water is the Town of Pincher Creek. A meeting was held with the Town Administrative staff to discuss the process of initiating the request, if Councils were to agree. It is recommended that Council authorize a formal request from the municipality to the Town for a Temporary Transfer of Allocation."

"By having access to water from the Castle River, the existing intake and piping system could be used until such time as water levels in the Castle River are adequate to meet the WCO's in the licences of Cowley and the Municipal District."

Reedyk recommended that council approve the emergency expenditure of approximately $55,000 for hauling water and the purchase of water, with the funding coming from the Mill Rate Stabilization Reserve and that council initiate a request to the Town of Pincher Creek for a Temporary Transfer of Water Licence for use by the Regional Water System. The detailed report indicates that the province's Water Act provides for the transfer of an allocation of water held under a licence in good standing from one parcel of land to another, either temporarily or permanently. According to Environment and Sustainable Resource Development (ERSD) guidelines, "The director may withhold up to 10 percent of the water from a licence being transferred, to protect the aquatic environment or implement a water conservation objective. This holdback applies to permanent and temporary transfers, but only to the volume of water being transferred. The holdback does not apply where a temporary transfer reverts to the original licence."

At the August 23 meeting Reedyk informed council that earlier the same day the water in the Castle River was measured at below the 4 metres per second mark.

Councillor Schoening moved that Reedyk's report be received as information and that administration be directed to look into the costs associated with temporary water management, that a letter be sent to the Town of Pincher Creek to keep them informed of the situation, that administration investigate the possible use of the Lundbreck aquifer for storing potable water and the possible temporary treatment of water for Lundbreck. and that a letter be sent to the province and the federal government asking that the process be expediated. and that outstanding bills related to the issue be paid.  The motion passed unanimously.


  1. Anonymous31/8/16

    Its interesting that it took this long for the MD to do something.
    They've known from the time they built the plant that they did not have enough water from the Castle and would need to access the dam and that's just for Cowley and Lundbreck. What about Pincher Station and Beaver Mines?

  2. Anonymous31/8/16

    This entire situation Is ridiculous. They knew about the need to connect to oldman dam since last year...this is plan mis our expense. May be time for new people on that council.


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