Personnel to assist Municipalities with Water Management

Res #: 16-13M
Number: 16
Year: 2013
Midterm: Yes
Expired: Yes
Responses Received: No
Departments: Water Security Agency

WHEREAS the Province of Saskatchewan has received record rainfalls in many areas in recent years and this pattern may continue; and

WHEREAS municipal councils and individuals are not experts in flood preparedness, flood damage mitigation or drainage planning; and

WHEREAS there are many disaster related and drainage programs available through various Provincial and Federal Ministries, all of which have various limitations, deadlines, requirements and prerequisites; and

WHEREAS limited municipal resources are additionally burdened during periods of flooding, there is a need to have a resource person available to municipalities and individuals who is knowledgeable about drainage systems, flood prevention and flood damage mitigation measures as well is knowledgeable about all assistance programs available; and

WHEREAS it is extremely frustrating to need to contact each separate ministry and program advisor only to be referred to another ministry or advisor;

BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Provincial Government to hire flood/drainage experts to assist municipalities and individuals through prevention, mitigation, determining responsibilities, clean up and potential funding opportunities associated with this type of disaster.

Response from Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Water Security Agency

I am pleased to respond to Resolution No. 16-13, approved at your recent midterm convention. Through the Resolution, I see three areas which the Resolution addresses:

  • The need to hire resource experts to assist municipalities in the prevention, response and recovery phases for flooding;
  • The need to streamline and coordinate the flood mitigation and response phase for provincial government; and
  • The need for funding opportunities for flood prevention, response and clean-up.

As you are aware, we have experienced excess moisture over the past few years which has caused widespread flooding and affected many individuals and rural municipalities throughout Saskatchewan.  The Water Security Agency (WSA) has made a strong commitment to assist affected municipalities and residents.  In 2011, the Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP) was established to reduce flood damages through mitigation measures.  The WSA had similar programs in 2012 and 2013.  Through these programs to date, 135 rural municipalities have enrolled in the program receiving engineering support and grants for permanent and temporary flood mitigation projects.  WSA staff also spent countless hours from 2011 through 2013 providing advice and assistance for flood mitigation.

Unfortunately, as you are aware, this is just part of the story.  The Office of the Fire Commissioner responds to emergency situations, working with municipalities during disaster events, including flooding.  There were numerous occasions over the last three years where WSA and EMO staff were together on site, assessing situations and working with local organizations and individuals.  Also through the response and clean-up phase, the Ministry of Government Relations (MoGR) staff through the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP), provided assistance to individuals and municipalities impacted by flooding.

I have witnessed the various agencies working together to resolve flood issues in 2013.  While there is always some room for improvement, the WSA, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and MoGR staff have spent considerable time and effort getting ready for the 2013 flood event, and then coordinating the mitigation, response and recovery efforts.

At this time, we are giving consideration to possible flood mitigation, response and recovery needs for 2014.  WSA and MoGR officials will once again look at how they can best coordinate their efforts to try and address your concerns.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to comment on this resolution.  I look forward to the continued close relationship between the WSA and local governments as they work together to deliver flood and other water management activities in Saskatchewan.