WHEREAS there is a growing need in Alberta for the farming sector to have access to a potable water; and
WHEREAS funding for rural potable water pipelines has not been available since 1993 when the Alberta Farm Water Grant Program was terminated; and
WHEREAS Provincial Government has approved several regional water systems throughout Alberta under the Water for Life Program; and
WHEREAS there is an excellent program for smaller municipalities under the Alberta Water/Waste Water Partnership where qualifying projects receive assistance at 75% of approved project costs;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the Government of Alberta establish a program similar to the Water/Wastewater Partnership Funding Program for providing potable water to rural residences in Alberta.
The Government of Alberta has adopted the Water for Life Strategy which deals with Alberta’s quality of life and life itself. The program is focused on having a healthy sustainable water supply for Albertan’s. The Water for Life Program is Alberta’s strategy for sustainability with goals and actions to address the province’s water issues.
One of the concepts within the program is to deal with regional water strategies. Under the program several regional systems have received funding and are in the process of being constructed. Many regional water distribution systems already exist in Alberta and with the development of these new regional water distribution systems, rural Alberta has an opportunity and a pressing need to have an affordable access to safe and secure potable water. Without a funding program that focuses on their quality of life or life in general, it will not be feasible for rural Albertan’s to access these regional distribution systems for potable water.
Currently most Alberta municipalities under 45,000 people have access to the Water and Wastewater Partnership Program which provides 75% funding for eligible projects. The program helps with ensuring that Albertan’s have access to safe water supplies while enhancing life in smaller centers and allowing municipalities to attract development to their communities. The program is excellent however water distribution systems are not eligible for assistance.
From 1985 to 1993 the Government of Alberta operated a program called the “Alberta Farm Water Grant Program”. This program provided funding to numerous rural Alberta residences. The program provided 75% funding for eligible projects and was extremely successful.
In southern Alberta alone near Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Brooks it is estimated that there would be close to 2000 rural residences that could access a program similar to the Alberta Farm Water Grant Program. With the increase of development of regional systems in Alberta, the time is right to bring on a program that will address the potable water needs of rural Alberta.
The County of Newell is proud to sponsor a resolution to ask the Government of Alberta to bring back a potable water funding program for rural Albertan’s.
Resolution 9-08S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties encourage the Province of Alberta to initiate a complete review of the Code of Practice for a Waterworks System Consisting Solely of a Water Distribution System, and that the review accommodates the operation of rural and smaller community water systems.
Resolution 8-07S: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the Government of Alberta change the procedure on access to potable water and wastewater treatment systems so that all municipalities have equal access to this provincial resource through their closest treatment facility within the same sub-basin.
Resolution ER2-06S:THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that Alberta Environment undertake groundwater resource mapping for all of Alberta, and not only concentrate on central Alberta.
Resolution 17-05F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta review the AMWWP eligibility criteria to include Business-Industrial Parks and country residential developments.
This resolution identifies a related issue with water systems resulting in a specific burden to rural municipalities.
See also the Fall 2008 resolution Specific Funding for Raw Water Lines in Rural Alberta.
Alberta Environment is aware that the Water/Wastewater Partnership Funding Program does not provide Government of Alberta funding for approved systems serving rural subdivisions and co-ops. Funding under the Water for Life Regional Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Initiative targets regional commissions for municipal drinking water and wastewater and does not include raw water supplies. Alberta Transportation administers these two funding programs.
Alberta Environment, as part of an interdepartmental committee, will work with Alberta Transportation to review the eligibility criteria for these two programs and the possibility of the inclusion of raw water.
Alberta Transportation administers the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership and funding under the Water for Life Strategy for urbanized municipalities. The Alberta Farm Water Grant Program, which provided funding to rural communities, was previously administered by Alberta Transportation. Due to budgetary constraints and the broad scope of providing projects to non-urbanized communities, there is no intention by Alberta Transportation at this time to develop a province-wide program of this nature. There may be similar programs to the Alberta Farm Water Grant Program in effect under Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.
While the Alberta Transportation responded that there is no intention at this time to develop a province-wide program of this nature, Alberta Environment committed to working with Alberta Transportation to review the eligiblity criteria for the Water for Life Regional Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Initiative and the Water/Wastewater Partnership Funding Program. In addition, the association has been advised that Alberta Environment is currently investigating rural water supply and funding options. At a September 2011 meeting with the Minister, the AAMDC was advised that this research is temporarily on hold. The association urged the Minister to reignite the research project, due to the importance of water supply concerns to rural Albertans.