Funding for Well Decommissioning

Res #: 11-08M
Number: 11
Year: 2008
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment

Whereas ground water is an important water source for a majority of residents of rural and urban municipalities in Saskatchewan; and

Whereas old and abandoned wells are a direct entry source for contamination of ground water; and

Whereas all Source Water Protection Plans in Saskatchewan have addressed ground water protection as a key action in their plans; and

Whereas these watershed plans have stated that Environmental Farm Planning is an important process to address key actions within their watershed; and

Whereas the current funding for well decommissioning under the Farm Stewardship Program is only at 50% funding; and

Whereas there is poor uptake of the well decommissioning Best Management Practices by land owners and more monetary incentive may be needed;

Be it Resolved that the Federal and/or Provincial Governments put more emphasis and resources into water well abandonment so that more wells will be looked after;

Be it Further Resolved that the funding for the decommissioning of unused water wells, including well head protection for existing wells be funded 100% by the Provincial and/or Federal Governments because of the importance of protecting ground water which is an important source of water for the people of Saskatchewan.  

Response from Honourable Nancy Heppner, Minister of Environment:

The Government of Saskatchewan agrees that well decommissioning is an important component of protecting ground water resources.  This importance is recognized through the Environmental Farm Planning process, which provides 50 per cent funding for well decommissioning.  Under current legislation, decommissioning of wells no longer in use is the responsibility of the well owner.  It is also recognized that in most cases the primary beneficiary of decommissioning a well is the landowner.

The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority continues to work on more cost effective methods for decommissioning wells and to develop and provide educational material on well decommissioning.  In 2008, a video on decommissioning large diameter bored wells was released and a companion video on decommissioning drilled wells will be completed in the spring of 2009.  In addition, a publication titled A Landowners Guide to Water Well Management, which covers all aspects of operating domestic wells, was also recently released and is available on the web at under Publications – Stewardship.

The Government of Saskatchewan recognizes that there is interest in increased funding for well decommissioning.  However, at this time there is no additional funding available.