Council approved an adjustment to the timeline for a supplemental water pipeline during the regular meeting December 9. The date to begin construction has been extended until 2024 in the10 year Capital Plan.
“Our continued efforts to decrease water consumption, with the support of our residents, and Okotoks’ investment in water treatment plant improvements, has had a positive impact on the Town’s current water supply,” said Mayor Bill Robertson. “These efficiencies have helped to extend our water resources for approximately nine more years than originally anticipated based on a growth rate of one to two percent per year.”
With the current economic situation in Alberta, extending the project’s start date will provide time for the financial condition of the province to improve and increases the Province’s ability to provide funding support when construction begins.
Extending the timeframe creates an opportunity for the Town to work with regional partners to create the detailed designs on an alternative solution instead of accessing water from the City of Calgary. There are significant benefits to a regional supplementary water system including lower capital costs, lower overall cost of ownership, along with a greater chance that water licences and transfers will be approved by the provincial government, greater control and increased security of a long-term water supply.
While the Town continues to work on the long-term water strategy and detailed design plan, administration is also adjusting its current water licensing policy to create greater efficiencies for developers and Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP). The Town intends to purchase water licenses in bulk and assign them to developers as needed, which will simplify the process for the developer, the government and the Town, making the approval process more efficient. The costs for water license acquisition will be covered by development.
“This is a win-win situation for all stakeholders as Okotoks can continue to support sustained growth for several years while we finalize a long-term water strategy that will benefit Okotoks and our neighbours,” said Robertson.