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Foothills Okotoks Regional Water Project Receives Provincial Water for Life Grant

Transportation Minister Panda speaking at the Water Pipeline announcement

Alberta Government logoTown and County logos

The Town of Okotoks and Foothills County are very pleased to confirm the Province’s announcement that the Foothills Okotoks Regional Water Project (FORWP), a partnership between the Town of Okotoks and Foothills County, will receive Water for Life Grant funding.

The funding, in the amount of $16M, will be used to construct a raw water pipeline where water will be pumped from the Bow River at the confluence with the Highwood River through a shared water system to water treatment facilities in both municipalities.

This funding is part of the more than $58.1 million from the Government of Alberta’s Water for Life and the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership grant programs that will support 33 water infrastructure projects across the province.

“Okotoks Town Council and Administration are incredibly grateful to be receiving this funding support from the Province. The Water for Life grant will allow us to take the necessary next steps to get the pipeline constructed and operational for 2025. After many years of diligently working towards a long-term water supply solution, this milestone is significant. We look forward to continuing to work on this essential and collaborative project along with the Province, and our partner, Foothills County, now that this critical step is in place,” said Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn.

Foothills Reeve Delilah Miller added that, “Foothills County is invested in the creation of sustainable infrastructure that will serve our residents and businesses while ensuring the protection of our environmental assets. The funding received from the Province is critical to support this important infrastructure project. Council and Administration are pleased to be able to continue working jointly with our municipal neighbours to provide water security and support economic development in both Foothills County and the Town of Okotoks.”

The objectives of the regional water project include providing safe and secure drinking water to the region and supporting the vital water needs of new residential growth and business development in Okotoks and Foothills County. A regional water system will also mitigate water resource constraints and pressure on challenged rivers within the project area.

The water system includes a water main, above-ground reservoir, pump station, and intake; the site for the reservoir and pump station were purchased by the Town with preliminary design completed in 2021. The location of the facilities have been determined through engineering analysis of costs, environmental considerations, and operational efficiencies.

The next steps of the water supply project include:

  • Notification regarding Water Act and Environmental Protection & Enhancement Act regulatory approval applications to Alberta Environment and Parks
  • Notification regarding recent water license transfer applications 
  • Tender/Construction
  • Target to have pipeline operational in August 2025

Okotoks’ search for a supplemental water supply source began more than 20 years ago. Issues such as the moratorium placed on water licensing for the Sheep River in the 1980s, water license restrictions, conditions and regulatory constraints and the over-subscription of the Water for Life grant program made finding a solution challenging.

Foothills County owns and operates various water systems throughout the region, and has most recently been active in the development of water supply infrastructure across the County in their work with the Sheep River Regional Utility Corporation, and by commissioning a new water treatment facility near the Hamlet of Aldersyde. The partnership with the Town of Okotoks on a water pipeline from the Bow River aligns with Foothills County’s water security strategy to ensure that future growth and development is sustainable.

FORWP is an essential water management strategy that will increase water supply system resiliency, reduce water supply vulnerability and ensure continued and future growth/economic development for the region. For more information about the project, visit www.okotoks.ca/water-solution.