Council has data to make water decision
By: Wheel staff
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013 03:23 pm
Okotoks is threatening its water allocation limit and growth is continuing, therefore, a decision on the community’s long-term water strategy needs to be made sooner not later.
A census completed this spring indicated Okotoks’ population has eclipsed 26,000 people. Although Okotoks’ water usage is down so far in 2013, at four per cent growth each year the town will reach the limit of its water licences in 18 to 24 months.
At first glance, that may seem like plenty of time to make a decision on the direction of Okotoks’ water strategy. However, how long will it take to build a pipeline to Calgary or another site? How long will it take to reach an agreement with those partners involved? All of these issues will take time to resolve and if they are not completed in two years time it will have a significant impact on Okotoks’ growth, or lack thereof.
Okotoks cannot afford to wait any longer for a decision on a long-term water source because there is simply too much at stake. Residents, business owners and the potential developers need to know the community’s long range plans and economic outlook. As it has been for a decade water and its impact on Okotoks’ growth will be the key issue in the October municipal election.
The research needed is virtually in place, particularly a new study outlining the cost of a variety of options. Council must make a decision and move forward — it is time.
Okotoks cannot afford for this to be an election issue again in 2017.