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WHEREAS the natural storage and flows of water are being affected by the ad hoc filling of sloughs and depressional areas or through ditching activities, thereby reducing or eliminating the water storage areas critical to minimize downstream impacts on neighboring properties and municipal infrastructure, thus allowing flooding to occur on agricultural lands causing economic losses to the agricultural industry; AND WHEREAS public and private infrastructure and property are being damaged as a result of lack of enforcement; AND WHEREAS the Province of Alberta is the regulatory authority under the Water Act; AND WHEREAS Alberta Environments Business Plan (1999-2000 to 2001-2002) Strategy 2.2 is to maintain an up-to-date and streamlined regulatory regime including the implementation of the Water Act, its regulations, codes of practice and administrative procedures; AND WHEREAS the Province has seemingly been unable, due to resource constraints, to carry out enforcement under the Water Resources Act;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to review policies and increase resource allocations to ensure an appropriate ability to investigate and to ensure that any Water Act violations are dealt with in a more timely and effective manner.
The new Water Act came into effect on January 1, 1999.Some restructuring has taken place within Alberta Environments Natural Resources Service branch and regional offices, which has affected staffing of this department and the services provided. Specifically, Leduc County has noticed inspection and enforcement services have been affected negatively since the reorganization of the department.Leduc County residents have voiced their concern with the inefficiency of services provided by Natural Resources Service, Water Administration, due to the lack of resources (manpower) in relation to drainage issues.Leduc County is concerned that landowners across the province, seeking approval for drainage proposals, will become frustrated with the inefficient service provided by Natural Resources Service, Water Administration (due to their manpower constraints), and these landowners may perform illegal ditching activities. This situation may not only create a negative impact on downstream landowners (and municipalities) but also has the potential to become an enforcement issue, and as indicated above, there is a concern that enforcement manpower may not be available.