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Water Security Agency Issues Historic Drainage Approval

Feb. 16, 2017 - The Water Security Agency has issued the largest single agricultural drainage approval in the province’s history.

A single approval was issued to 73 landowners for more than 18,000 acres of an organized and responsibly managed drainage network.  The Dry Lake Project is located within the Gooseberry Lake Watershed in the southeastern part of the province.  While large scale organized drainage projects have been built before, this project is unique as it includes all existing drainage works and some future drainage works.

“This is a significant project in our province, nowhere else has a project of this magnitude ever been accomplished,” Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency Scott Moe said.  “This single project is equal to roughly one year of drainage approvals issued in southeast Saskatchewan which is remarkable progress.”

“Having a more efficient Agricultural Water Management Strategy in place creates major benefits for Saskatchewan farmers and the environment,” Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said. “ Organized drainage can work for all landowners if they work together and this just proves it.”

The Dry Lake Project saw WSA take a number of new approaches to issue this historic approval.  A joint application was utilized for land control replacing the previous requirement for legal easements on 113 quarter sections or hundreds of neighbour-to-neighbour land control agreements.

“It’s great to see a group of hardworking farmers team-up with Water Security Agency to find a responsible solution to water management,” Ken Weichel Reeve of the RM of Montmarte said.

Landowners in the project now have land control and security for their drainage works.  By including 30 gated structures, controlled release of flows will throttle spring runoff to the equivalent of a one in two year flow rate.  Flow controls for existing drainage will ensure that downstream landowners and communities will not experience increased flooding.  This project also restored 34 acres of wetlands on existing drainage and 21 acres of wetland retention on new drainage.

The Approval to Construct, Approval to Operate and Aquatic Habitat Protection Permits were all issued from one application and at one time and with one set of conditions.  The Upper Souris Watershed Association acted as the Qualified Person to assist producers with the application process, significantly reducing paperwork for landowners.

The Water Security Agency is currently working with hundreds of other landowners on an additional 12 organized drainage projects making up more than 160,000 acres.

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For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997