Saskatchewan landown­ers sign project to bet­ter con­trol wa­ter, re­duce flood­ing

Medicine Hat News - - WEST -

REGINA

Seventy-three landown­ers in south­east­ern Saskatchewan have signed onto a project that will al­low bet­ter con­trol over wa­ter flows in an ef­fort to re­duce flood­ing down­stream.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Scott Moe said Thurs­day that the per­mit for the Dry Lake Project in the Goose­berry Lake Water­shed cov­ers nearly 73 square kilo­me­tres.

Moe said it’s the largest sin­gle agri­cul­tural drainage ap­proval in Saskatchewan’s his­tory.

The plan al­lows con­trol over when and how much wa­ter flows into Moose Moun­tain Creek and even­tu­ally the Souris River.

“The whole goal of these sys­tems is to be able to con­trol and or­ga­nize the wa­ter flow with gates and gated cul­verts and such, which start, quite frankly, at the farm gate,” said Moe, who is also min­is­ter re­spon­si­ble for the Wa­ter Se­cu­rity Agency.

The per­mit in­cludes all ex­ist­ing drainage works and some fu­ture ones. It cov­ers 30 gated struc­tures, op­er­ated by landown­ers, which can hold back wa­ter when river lev­els are too high. There are also 22 hectares of wet­lands for wa­ter re­ten­tion.

The new ap­proach elim­i­nates each landowner hav­ing to get three per­mits for one drainage project and means landown­ers can co-or­di­nate their ef­forts.

“They’d had some is­sues in the past and they were ready to co-op­er­ate ... to solve them and it’s very en­cour­ag­ing. It’s good for agri­cul­ture. It’s good for the prov­ince, good for the en­vi­ron­ment, good for down­stream, other pro­duc­ers and wa­ter­ways,” said Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lyle Ste­wart.

Ste­wart said over the last 30 years, there hasn’t been a good un­der­stand­ing of the reg­u­la­tions that did ex­ist, “and they were pretty loose.”

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