Wheat­land Re­gional Cor­po­ra­tion cuts rib­bon on wa­ter project

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa

The Wheat­land Re­gional Cor­po­ra­tion cel­e­brated a mile­stone on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 19 at the grand open­ing of the lat­est phase of its East Wheat­land Wa­ter Project.

Phase 2 of the project came in “on time and un­der bud­get.” This phase in­cluded a ma­jor up­grade to its wa­ter treat­ment plant at Stan­dard and a treated wa­ter line to sup­ply the Vil­lage of Rock­y­ford.

“I can say cer­tainly in the east side of Wheat­land County this project shows the true mean­ing of part­ner­ship,” said Rock­y­ford Mayor and Chair of the Wheat­land Re­gional Cor­po­ra­tion Darcy Burke.

“The fund­ing that came for­ward from the Prov­ince of Al­berta, the Gov­ern­ment of Canada and Wheat­land County, with­out these part­ners we wouldn’t be here to­day. They cer­tainly see the value in sup­ply­ing eq­ui­table and sus­tain­able wa­ter to our res­i­dents in the re­gion.”

He ex­plained to those gath­ered to mark the oc­ca­sion that about a dozen years ago, they be­gan look­ing at how to bring a re­li­able potable wa­ter sup­ply to the re­gion, and came up with this model. They were able to part­ner with the Western Ir­ri­ga­tion Dis­trict to sup­ply wa­ter and also lease land for its raw wa­ter reser­voir. The Wheat­land Re­gional Cor­po­ra­tion was formed. MPE En­gi­neer­ing was the prime con­sul­tant.

Rock­y­ford was able to se­cure grants from the pro­vin­cial and fed­eral level to un­der­take the first phase. This was to up- grade the Wa­ter Treat­ment Plant at Stan­dard, and put in its first line to Gle­ichen.

This ini­tial phase came in well be­low its es­ti­mates, re­al­iz­ing a sav­ing of more than $9 mil­lion. By the time the first phase of the con­struc­tion was com­plete, they had re­ceived ap­proval for fund­ing for Phase 2.

Phase 2 was com­plete and wa­ter was flow­ing to Rock­y­ford in the spring of 2018, and this phase also came in un­der cost pro­jec­tions, with a sav­ings of about $2.3 mil­lion.

Wheat­land Reeve Glenn Koester out­lined the County’s con­tri­bu­tion. They in­vested the sav­ings re­al­ized from not build­ing a treat­ment plant in Gle­ichen into this project, about $3.5 mil­lion. The County also fi­nanced the project while the grants were out­stand­ing.

“We each did our part here and I think it is some­thing we can all be re­ally proud of. We have se­cure wa­ter for this re­gion, not only for the com­mu­ni­ties but for the farm­ers and the school,” he said.

Burke said they are not done yet. There is an ap­pli­ca­tion for Phase 3 which would con­struct a wa­ter­line from Rock­y­ford to Red­land and then Rose­bud. He says there is plenty of op­por­tu­nity for strong buy-in from agri­cul­tural pro­duc­ers along this line.

“When that fund­ing is made avail­able then Phase 3 will hap­pen and the folks in the Rose­bud and Red­land Area will be part of this,” said Burke.

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

Mem­bers of the Wheat­land Re­gional Cor­po­ra­tion cut the rib­bon on Phase Two of the re­gional wa­ter project. At the cer­e­mony are, from left, board mem­bers Rex Har­wood, Martin Gau­thier, Chair Darcy Burke, Tim Frank and Wheat­land Reeve Glenn Koester.

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