Water Programs

Channel Clearing

Creeks and channels obstructed by trees, brush, deadfall and other obstructions cause flooding and erosion problems to roads and adjacent lands.  Rural municipalities wishing to undertake a program for obstruction removal to resolve problems including beaver dam removal may receive assistance from the Water Security Agency under provisions of this program.

The purpose of this program is to assist rural municipalities which may wish to undertake:

(1)    Removal of brush and obstructions in natural water channels; and

(2)    Maintenance of existing drainage ditches which are the responsibility of the municipality.

Regulations and Conditions

Financial assistance is available to rural municipalities under the following conditions:

(1)            Approvals for assistance must be obtained from the Water Security Agency before the work is undertaken.

(2)    The municipality must submit an application on a form to be provided by the Water Security Agency outlining the project proposal, land locations, widths of clearing and proposed expenditure.

(3)    Aquatic Habitat Protection Permits (AHPP) need to be obtained before work is undertaken and proof of an AHPP has be submitted with the statutory declaration described below.

(4)    The municipality must obtain right-of-entry agreements for proposed work in natural water channels.

(5)    Rights-of-way or easements for existing drainage ditches must be acquired and registered by the municipality.

(6)    Dams, control structures, and water supplies authorized under provisions of The Water Rights Act or approved under provisions of The Water Security Agency Act, must not be disturbed by work done under this program.

Structure improvements, channel cut-offs or earthwork, other than removal of silt, will not be eligible for assistance under this program.

All rental rates for contract equipment or unit prices must not exceed rates which have been adopted by the Water Security Agency.

Applications from municipalities for projects proposed within the jurisdiction of watershed associations or conservation and development areas must be submitted to the watershed board or the conservation and development area authority for their approvals or sponsorship.

New drainage systems will not be considered under this program.  Renovations to existing systems will not be considered under this program, but may be eligible for assistance under the Water Security Agency's Rural Water Control Assistance Program.


Financial assistance will be provided up to 50% of the eligible costs.

Items eligible for assistance are:

(1)    brush removal and disposal;

(2)    obstruction removal and disposal;

(3)    silt bar removal;

(4)            silt removal to originally constructed grade lines for ditches, as described in the second paragraph under General, below.

Channel clearing involving silt removal would be allowed as either a removal of a point obstruction of silt or channel maintenance as follows:

  • Point obstruction removal of silt where the  disturbance has a foot print of less than

50 linear meters of channel disturbance per kilometer and less one meter depth of total excavation over a five year period; or, 

  • Channel maintenance where disturbance is greater than 50 liner meters but less than

15 centimeters depth of total excavation over a five year period; or,

  • For either point obstruction removal of silt or channel maintenance, the volume of water released must not be so significant as to result in damage to downstream lands.

A statutory declaration will be required from the municipality attesting to the expenditures claimed.


In channels where beaver dams are a problem, the Water Security Agency Regional office and Aquatic Habitat Permit staff should be contacted for regulations and permits pertaining to removal.

Maintenance assistance for ditches constructed under provisions of The Drainage Act and government drains constructed pursuant to The North West Territories Drainage Ordinance or The Public Works Act may be eligible for assistance under this program.

As a condition for assistance, the municipality must hold the Water Security Agency harmless from all damages and claims which may occur from works undertaken pursuant to this program.

Expenditures and claims in amounts more than proposed and approved in the application will require additional consideration and approval by the Water Security Agency.

Channel clearing affecting adjacent municipalities should be coordinated and scheduled jointly.

The annual assistance under this program is subject to funds appropriated.


Applications for assistance should be made to the nearest Water Security Agency Regional Office.