+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 7-09F

Potable Water Funding for Small Hamlets and Existing Small Growth Areas

January 1, 2009
Expiry Date:
November 30, 2012
Active Status:
County of Warner
1 - Foothills-Little Bow
Intent Not Met
Vote Results:
Carried as Amended

WHEREAS the Province of Alberta has mandated all potable water treatment systems be upgraded to meet the 2006 Standards Drinking Water Standards as set out by Alberta Environment; and

WHEREAS the current provincial funding formula, under the Alberta Municipal Water/ Wastewater Partnership Program and the Water for Life Program for upgrading and installing new regional potable water systems within small hamlets, is inadequate to cover a reasonable share of the costs of the mandated upgrades; and

WHEREAS the cost per capita/household varies based on the population of the hamlet (greater populations reduces the cost per resident/household and decreasing populations increases the cost per resident/household); and

WHEREAS the costs per resident/household in small hamlets make the project upgrade costs beyond the ability of the residents to pay; and

WHEREAS the Province of Alberta needs to reduce the onerous costs associated with the mandated water treatment facility upgrades for small hamlets, such as basing the grants on a sliding population scale; and

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request the Government of Alberta to investigate various funding options which will provide additional grants to municipalities who provide potable water to small hamlets and existing small growth areas, and which will result in easing the resident’s financial burden associated with mandated water treatment facility upgrades.

Member Background:

The County of Warner No. 5 recently completed a regional potable water study for the Hamlets of New Dayton and Wrentham and the Village of Warner and the recommended alternative was the regional concept.  The total project will cost in excess of  $15 million.  The provincial grants will cover $13.2 of the cost.  The remaining balance is the responsibility of the residents and is as follows:

Mun. Share               Cost Per          Cost Per
Municipality of Cost Pop. Households Capita Household
Hamlet of Wrentham $565,000      50 25      $11,300 $22,600
Hamlet of New Dayton $87,000 48 22       $1,813 $3,955
Village of Warner $1,245,000     395 169 $3,151 $7,367

As illustrated above, the resident’s costs can be a significant expense and some do not have the ability to pay.

Also find a letter which was forwarded to the Honorable Minister of Municipal Affairs Ray Danyluk after he requested possible options or solutions to this funding concern.  His reply along with Honorable Minister of Transportation Luke Ouellette, is also attached as additional information.

RMA Background:

Resolution 9-08F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties request that the Government of Alberta provide consistent grant funding opportunities to all hamlets that are designated under Section 59 of the MGA.

Resolution 8-07F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties urge the Government of Alberta to consider creating separate funding categories for water and wastewater projects.

Resolution 2-07F: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC request that the Government of Alberta support the full cost of construction for regional waterlines throughout the Province of Alberta, and further that the Government of Alberta remove the current inequity by re-committing full support for partially-funded waterlines.

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 17-08F: 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.

Government Response:

Municipal Affairs:
The Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP), administered by Alberta Transportation, is intended to enhance life in smaller urban centres and allow municipalities to attract development to their communities.
The program provides cost-shared funding to assist eligible municipalities in the construction of municipal water supply and treatment, as well as wastewater treatment and disposal facilities.
Funding provided to municipalities by Alberta Municipal Affairs under the Municipal Sustainability Initiative (MSI) may also be applied to qualifying costs associated with the upgrade and installation of regional potable water systems.
Municipalities determine projects and activities to be funded by MSI based on local priorities, within the general qualification criteria set out in the program guidelines.
Alberta Transportation administers the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership and Funding under Water for Life for upgrading and installing new regional potable water and waste water systems within small hamlets.  The Municipal Sustainability Initiative is another possible source for funds that can be accessed to aid in the installation of potable water and waste water systems. 
Due to budgetary constraints Alberta Transportation cannot consider increasing grant funding at this time.
Alberta Environment approves individual and regional projects to ensure the safety of our drinking water and wastewater and compliance with Alberta’s regulatory requirements.  We work with Alberta Transportation to identify funding priorities and encourage municipalities to pool resources and invest in regional systems when it is practical.
The Government of Alberta allocates approximately $150 million annually for municipal water and wastewater systems to ensure Albertans have access to safe water supplies and adequate wastewater treatment.  Alberta Transportation administers two funding programs:
• the Alberta Municipal Water and Wastewater Partnership Program, which provides cost-shared funding to towns, villages, designated hamlets, Métis settlements and cities with populations less than 45,000 to assist in the construction of standalone municipal water infrastructure; and
• the Water for Life Regional Drinking Water and Wastewater Program, which provides funding for regional infrastructure. 
While we recognize that grant applications for municipal water infrastructure exceed existing grant budgets, we are committed to working with municipalities and their associations to identify priorities and to ensure the long-term sustainability of our systems.  Ensuring sustainability requires more than an infrastructure solution, and Alberta Environment is committed to addressing operational challenges associated with municipal water systems.


The responses received from the government for this resolution outlined the grant funding programs already in place.  The AAMDC finds these responses to be unsatisfactory.   The Government of Alberta has mandated that all potable water treatment systems be upgraded to meet the 2006 Standards Drinking Water Standards.  However, based on the delayed full funding of MSI and fiscal constraints that will not allow increased grant funding through other programs, the provincial government has downloaded an increased mandate without appropriate funding.  This resolution specifically calls for the investigation of funding options for small population areas, and the responses do not address this unique problem.  The AAMDC continues to address rural water issues with the Ministers of Environment and Transportation, and will continue to advocate on this issue specifically. 

Provincial Ministries:
Environment and Sustainable Resource Development,
Municipal Affairs,
Treasury Board and Finance
Back to Resolutions Database