Budget cuts pull the plug on Okotoks
| Posted: Thursday, Mar 14, 2013 01:13 pm
It is time Highwood’s MLA and the provincial government start paying attention to the critical water situation arising in Okotoks.
Cuts in the Alberta budget could have a profound impact on future development in Okotoks as funding to the Water for Life program was slashed by more than 50 per cent. Okotoks hoped to access some of that funding to help buy additional water licences. Acquiring additional water rights might be difficult if there is no provincial funding available.
The water issues Okotoks is facing have been well known for years, but the situation is becoming more dire as the Town rushes towards its water limit.
It was announced at Monday’s council meeting unless it makes upgrades to its water system, Okotoks will be in a water deficit of 15 million gallons per year within the next two to three years.
As a result, without additional water removing the population cap will mean nothing as Okotoks will be unable to grow beyond 30,000 people.
Okotoks may be able to find additional water licences, but it needs to find a long-term solution not peicemealing its future one licence at a time.
To do so it needs the Province to get involved and it needs Highwood MLA Danielle Smith to champion a local issue and take up the water fight.
Okotoks council has proposed several options from return flow credits to regional water programs and each one has been dismissed.
Thus far Okotoks has been innovative in making its licences stretch, but the situation is nearing critical and it is time everyone jumped in the water and helped find a resolution.