Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency has announced that $8.3 million will be invested in six water management projects that range from pumping infrastructure to flood mapping and aquatic weed removal.
Initial work on all the projects, part of Saskatchewan’s $7.5 billion two-year capital plan, will begin immediately, provincial officials said in a statement.
“Water management and investing in our supporting infrastructure ensures Saskatchewan can remain strong now and into the future,” said Greg Ottenbreit, Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency, in an official news release.
The two most costly endeavours under the funding, at $2.5 million each, include upgrades to Pike Lake’s conveyance canal and pumping infrastructure just outside Saskatoon, and the installation of travelling screens to capture and remove aquatic weeds from the M1 Canal.
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For Pike Lake, Saskatchewan invested more than $850,000 to complete upgrades to the potable water system at the popular provincial park in 2014.
For the M1 Canal, the province spent $13.7 million to rehabilitate some 4.6 kilometres of the canal in 2018, and a total of more than $52 million since 2015. Constructed in the 1960s, the M1 Canal is a 22.5 kilometre-long water supply canal extending from Lake Diefenbaker to Broderick Reservoir near Outlook. It provides water for 37,000 acres of irrigation in the Saskatchewan River Irrigation District.
The new infrastructure dollars also include $600,000 to clear natural channels of debris, sedimentation and general overgrowth under the guidance of the Rural Municipalities, Conservation and Development Area Authorities and Watershed Associations.
An additional $1.5 million of the new funding is earmarked to advance agricultural water management projects that deal with issues such as erosion control. In 2019, the province spent $5 million to advance its Agricultural Water Management Strategy, which focuses on responsible drainage. It was introduced in 2015.
Provincial officials also announced $500,000 for municipalities to conduct flood mapping to support long-term mitigation. Due to geography and climate change, Infrastructure Canada said in 2019 that residents on the east side of Meadow Lake face increasingly serious flooding issues, and significant funding was granted under an $8-million investment.
Lastly, the province is investing $750,000 for upgrades to improve stoplog handling systems for water level regulation control structures at six locations across the province.
Earlier in 2020, Saskatchewan released a new strategy to address aquatic invasive species.
Click here for a list of Saskatchewan water infrastructure projects undertaken in 2019.