Drumheller may be getting back in to the business of selling water.
“I sent the Mayor of Three Hills a letter saying we have the capacity and the allotment, and in the name of regional partnerships… we can provide it,” said Mayor Terry Yemen.
He said that Three Hills is facing a major upgrade to their water treatment plant, and Three Hills Council has acknowledged Drumheller’s offer.
While there is no formal offer, Yemen hopes the idea will lead to further discussions.
Much of the infrastructure to get the water to Three Hills is in place through the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission lines. There would still be some construction needed to bring the water right to the Three Hills border. Yemen said the Town has also consulted the Kneehill Regional Water Services Commission on the proposition.
“Everybody along the line would benefit,” he said.
The increased flow through the lines would help serve Kneehill customers with fresher water, and they would also be able to generate some revenue for the usage on the lines.
“It would be nice to see our plant running to capacity, because when it runs close to capacity it is more efficient and runs better, it keeps itself cleaner and you put in less chemical. It is a win-win,” said Yemen.
He said one of the upsides to the deal is that it could lead to a more stable price for water in Drumheller.
“We are in a situation where the more water we sell, the cheaper we could provide it to the people of Drumheller,” said Yemen. “I don’t like that every year our water prices are going up because of the cost of production. The government continually gives us different rules, but there is no funding that comes with it, so it is all absorbed in the price of our water. The only other thing we could do is sell more water, and hope we can keep it at a constant price for the people of Drumheller.”
In 2007 residents of Drumheller voiced strong opinions regarding the sale of water from the Drumheller Treatment Plant to the Balzac Mall Development. Eventually the Town of Drumheller said no to the proposal. Mayor Yemen said this proposal is different from the one the town was faced with just a few short years ago.
“Before we enter any agreement we are certainly going to look after Drumheller’s best interest. The contract they (Balzac Development) presented us with had no ceiling,” said Yemen. “We will have proper controls in place to ensure we will always have a secure, sufficient supply of fresh water for Drumheller.”