Town secures another water license
Okotoks: Province reviewing additional license application
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 02, 2013 06:00 am
The Town of Okotoks has found a little more breathing room with its water supply.
Alberta Environment has approved the transfer of a water license to the Town, adding 10 million gallons of water to its total allocation from the Sheep River.
The license is enough for a few hundred people and gives the Town enough water for a population of about 28,000 people. According to this year’s municipal census, Okotoks has a population of 26,319.
Mayor Bill Robertson said Okotoks is not at risk of maxing out on its water supply and has still has room to grow over the next couple years.
“We still have water for another 1,500 people,” he said. “Further conservation might increase that.”
The Town is not revealing how much was spent to purchase the license, except to say it was within the range of $5,000 and $7,500 per acre-foot of water council budgets for water licenses each year. At this rate the Town paid between $205,000 and $307,500 for the license.
Municipal Manager Rick Quail said the Town doesn’t reveal how much it pays for water licenses to limit the potential impact on prices for water licenses.
“I’m very reluctant to share the price per acre we pay because it just drives everything up,” he said.
The Province held 10 per cent of the license for conservation.
The new license brings the Town’s total water license allocation to 680.4 million gallons per year.
At current growth rates, the Town isn’t expected to max out on its water allocation for as much as two years.
The Town has enough water for everyone who currently calls Okotoks home, but still needs to find more water to service all residential developments it has currently committed.
Robertson said the Town is also in the process of acquiring another water license and has applied to the provincial government to approve the transfer. While he said he can’t go into detail at this point, this second license would amount to twice as much water as the recently approved water license.
The Town revealed earlier this year it didn’t have enough water to service all the land currently subdivided and approved for development. The Town measures this deficit in hectares of developable land.
With the addition of this latest water license the Town now has 21.3 hectares of land approved for development but don’t have a water supply, down from approximately 36 hectares.
Robertson said this deficit will be covered if the provincial government approves the second water license transfer.
However, Okotoks’ municipal engineer Marley Oness said the Town is not able to approve any new subdivisions until the licenses are approved.
“We don’t have enough water right now to allow a new subdivision until we get into the positive numbers there,” he said.