Friday, 14 September 2018 04:59

Water rationing a part of life in Milk River

Written by  Heather Cameron
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Again this year, the Town of Milk River institutes a water rationing policy throughout the fall and winter.


“Due to the realities of the Milk River with limited to no river flows through the winter, we store raw water in reservoirs for consumption, fire suppression and sewage needs for our residents,” explained Ryan Leuzinger, Chief Administrative Officer of the Town of Milk River. “Due to high usage throughout the hot, dry summer, our reserves get depleted, thus require water restrictions to ensure our reservoirs are full winter usage.”
According to Bylaw 1009, otherwise known as the ‘Water Conservation Bylaw’, the Town Council deemed it appropriate to partner with the Village of Coutts to ensure that water is conserved and utilized in an efficient manner.
The water restrictions will last until our reservoirs are at a point where we are confident that there will be enough water for our winter usage requirements,” Leuzigner said.
If Leuzinger believes that there may be a water shortage, he may use his authority of Chief Administrative Officer to regulate water distribution and use from the Water Treatment plant to all consumers. Regulations include when and how water can be used and in such an event, all appropriate information will be made available publicly via the web, television, newspaper flyers, and radio announcements.
Depending on how the situation changes, Leuzinger may also enact any of the following levels of water conservation measures.
Level 1 Water Restrictions include restricting all outdoor water use to specifically scheduled days. Bulk water sales are also restricted under Level 1.
Level 2 Water Restrictions state that all non-essential use is not allowed and hours of water use will be severely restricted to help with conservation. Level 3 Water Restrictions also state that all non-essential use is not allowed and usage hours will either be restricted or stopped altogether depending on the situation.
Penalties for violating the restrictions will be visited by municipal employees and ordered to cease inappropriate usage. If violators are non-compliant, employees have the authority to shut down the cause of the violation and discontinue water service to residences in violation of the bylaw. Violators will also be responsible for paying a reconnection fee and fines. The first offence is $100; the second is $250; and further offenses are $500.
“Our residents are aware of the situation we are in,” Leuzinger says. “As with any situation like this, there are some residents who are not happy these restrictions are in place at this time. Thankfully, the majority of our residents understand and work with us.”
According to Leuzinger, the Town of Milk River is going to be starting construction on a wetland enhancement project at the golf course this fall. Two new wetlands will created on the course while one existing wetland will be enlarged.
Leuzinger says in between the wetlands, there will be a creek system and a new pumphouse for the golf course irrigation system will be also constructed.
“Currently, we utilize the same raw water pumphouse for both needs,” Leuzinger says. “This project will enable the Town to pump additional water throughout the summer and enable the golf course to also irrigate at the same time.”
The new project will enable the golf course to operate their irrigation system independently of the Town raw water pumps. The project is slated to be ready by the spring of 2019.
“The new project will be a wonderful addition to the Town and to the golf course,” Leuzinger adds. “The goal is that everything we do ensures we do not require water restrictions; however, the realities each year change that require us to adapt to those situations. We thank our residents for continuing to work with the Town on ensuring we have adequate water resources.”

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