Drainage plan expected to help

A drainage plan for Wolf Creek will trim the red tape for developers while protecting the watershed.

A drainage plan for Wolf Creek will trim the red tape for developers while protecting the watershed.

The master drainage plan for Wolf Creek and its tributary Whelp Brook was unveiled for Lacombe County council on Thursday.

Significant flooding in recent years prompted the county, Ponoka County Lacombe and Blackfalds to join forces and commission a plan to assess the watershed and develop standards to ensure that future development does not introduce more problems.

The two-year project saw consultants determine existing runoff and stream flows and determine what kind of storm water management facilities, such as holding ponds and manufactured wetlands, are needed to ensure development doesn’t add to water flows.

Typically, multi-lot residential subdivisions are the biggest contributors to increased runoff as homes, driveways and streets direct more water into nearby drainage courses. Industrial developments also contribute to higher runoff.

Andrew Patton, of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, said storm water ponds slow additional runoff down so that flow rates are evened out and creeks and other drainage channels are not overwhelmed.

By adopting a drainage master plan, incoming developers know what standards they must design their drainage to and do not have to undertake their own lengthy studies. It also ensures that the four municipalities involved have consistent standards.

“There are a lot of advantages (for developers) to going through the master drainage plan,” said Patton.

Flooding is common in the low-lying areas in the Wolf Creek drainage area and the plan will not eliminate that. It is expected to reduce flooding and will definitely ensure new development does not add to the problem, council was told.

The plan will go to the other three municipalities for approval before being sent to Alberta Environment for its signoff.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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