POP: Review of the Water Security Act
Res #: POP 11-14A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment
WHEREAS the Province of Saskatchewan is experiencing tremendous growth; and
WHEREAS rural municipalities are responsible under legislation to maintain natural drainage; and
WHEREAS growth of urban municipalities has significant impacts on area drainage and permeation of water; and
WHEREAS The Water Security Agency Act and associated legislation does not require that all municipalities meet the same requirements, such as urbans not being required to manage the natural drainage impacts of their growth;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the provincial government for an immediate review of the Water Security Agency Act and associated acts so that inequities can be addressed to ensure all municipalities are bound by the same rules when pursuing development to accommodate growth.
RESPONSE FROM THE SASKATCHEWAN WATER SECURITY AGENCY
Saskatchewan is experiencing unprecedented economic and population growth. Growing urban centres affect their local environment and can influence much larger areas as former agricultural lands become residential and commercial neighbourhoods.
Currently, rural municipalities are responsible for both maintaining natural drainage through their road networks or applying for approvals where drainage works modifying natural conditions are being contemplated or constructed. The province's Drainage Control Regulations exclude urban municipalities from requiring approvals for works draining areas wholly contained within their boundaries. However, Saskatchewan's Statements of Provincial Interest Regulations does require that all and urban municipalities, including communities, manage the effects of development on downstream water quantity during their planning and decision-making processes.
Improper handling of both natural runoff and runoff from development can affect neighbouring landowners, municipalities and receiving water bodies. For this reason, adjacent municipalities need to consider the impacts of development to those outside of their boundaries, and accept the responsibility of ensuring increased water flows resulting from development are appropriately conveyed to an adequate outlet. In rural municipalities, the WSA, through The Water Security Agency Act and The Drainage Control Regulations, can ensure that drainage projects are constructed to a point of adequate outlet. However, in cases where urban and rural municipalities are neighbours there is a gap in the legislation. Regulations ensure urban runoff exits the development at the same location under both pre and post development conditions, but they are silent on volume and timing. This is one thing that will be addressed in new legislation which is under development. The importance of addressing the impacts of development from a regional perspective is critically important, especially during periods of above normal precipitation.