Dave France’s promoting water diversion from one water source to another could create many other problems. One would need federal government approvals and would put any virgin river in Alberta at risk.
The problems of Stettler and Drumheller are faced by almost every town in Alberta.
When I was hired by the Town of Turner Valley, they were starting to build a water treatment plant. The first problem was water supply from the town wells was sufficient only to allow short operating periods before the wells pumped dry. Thus another well was drilled and water allocations were increased by Alberta Environment.
Things went great for the next 18 months, when Alberta Environment informed the town that the water allocation could only be fulfilled when the Sheep River was in high water flows!
Sound familiar? Water shortage is water shortage.
Choices are few. Land had to be bought, reservoirs dug and lines laid, additional maintenance costs had to be addressed, plus the fact that the Environmental Impact Assessments had to be addressed, which almost doubled the cost of the reservoir.
Turner Valley was not the first town to be put in such a position nor will it be the last. Every town will have to weigh the problems of increasing size versus additional costs. At least now future changes are known and costs can be addressed in the planning stage.
Many towns in Southern Alberta have been installing reservoirs for a long time. Their reservoirs are usually filled by irrigation companies that divert river water from dams and drainage water from farmers’ fields and feedlots, causing other complications and costs. Water management has new meaning and needed commitments. Let us hope it is not just political fodder.
Ed A. Powell