Assessment begins for Special Areas water supply project | DrumhellerMail
06172024Mon
Last updateFri, 14 Jun 2024 6pm

Assessment begins for Special Areas water supply project

    The Government of Alberta is beginning a voluntary three-year Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process that will examine the potential diversion of water from the Red Deer River to the Special Areas region in East Central Alberta, as well as parts of the County of Stettler and the County of Paintearth.     “We are voluntarily conducting an EIA to ensure an open and accountable process,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs, Hector Goudreau. “Gathering the relevant information will help ensure a good decision is made on whether to proceed with the proposed project.”
    The Special Areas region of East Central Alberta has experienced a long history of water shortages. Low precipitation and a lack of secure water supply have been impediments to economic diversification and stability in the region. The areas, under direction of Alberta Municipal Affairs, were established by the province in 1938 due to the extreme hardship of years of drought in the 1930s.The three-person Special Areas Board manages more than 1 million hectares of public land and provides municipal services, such as construction and maintenance of local roads and parks, and emergency and protective services, to the region.
    “Households and livestock in the drought-prone areas of East Central Alberta are in need of an improved water distribution system,” said Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Jack Hayden. “We need to carefully examine the Special Areas Water Supply Project to determine if it represents a viable way to bring a sustainable water supply to rural communities in the area.”
    Potential benefits of the project would include increased reliability of water supply for household and domestic use; stock watering; municipal and industrial use; waterfowl and wildlife conservation and enhancement; recreation, and a limited amount of irrigation.
    If constructed, the Special Areas Water Supply Project would be part of the provincially owned water management infrastructure and would be owned and operated by Alberta Environment.
    The projected cost for Phase 1 of the EIA is estimated at $1 million.

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