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Water Security Agency Clarifies Current State of The Quill Lakes Watershed Association Diversion Project

Nov. 17, 2017 - There has been significant discussion and comments online and in the media about the current state of the Quill Lakes Watershed Association’s (QLWA) Common Ground proposal. The QLWA proposes to construct a diversion channel to redirect upstream surface water from Kutawagan and Pel Lake to Last Mountain Lake in order to reduce flows into the Quill Lakes. There are a number of details surrounding this proposal that need to be clarified.

In June of 2017, the QLWA submitted an application for their proposal to the Ministry of Environment for review under The Environmental Assessment Act (the Act). The ministry, along with regulatory experts, reviewed the application to determine whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) was required.  In September of 2017, the Ministry of Environment issued a determination to the QLWA indicating its proposal was not considered a development as defined in the Act and therefore would not be required to undergo an EIA.  The ministry made its reasons for determination available online and provided 12 terms and conditions on which the determination is contingent.

Although the Act was not triggered in this case, there will be significant and ongoing environmental oversight from the Water Security Agency (WSA). In order for this project to proceed it would require an Approval to Construct, an Approval to Operate and an Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit from WSA.

To date, WSA has not issued any approvals for this project and no permits are pending. In order for a decision to be made as to whether the proposed project can proceed, WSA requires certain information and actions from the QLWA, including the following:

  1. Hydrological Analysis – to support project flows and determine impacts to the Quill Lakes and downstream water bodies;
  2. Hydraulic Modelling – to support the design flowrates provided in the proposal;
  3. Water Quality Analysis – to determine the impact of the releases from the project on downstream waterbodies;
  4. Water Quality Monitoring Program – to provide feedback information on the operation of the project;
  5. Land Control – the right to move water over a landowner’s property along the length of the project; and
  6. Consultation – With the public and First Nations in the area with potential impacts

At this time, the application is not complete and WSA requires more information from the QLWA before any decision can be made.

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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