POP: Rural Municipalities Responsibilities and Liabilities Relative to Irrigation District Works and Public Utility Water Transmission Works Located Within the Municipality.
Res #: POP 1-12A
Responses Received: No
Departments: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture
WHEREAS the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan have constructed irrigation projects and utility water transmission works within the boundaries of rural municipalities for the benefit of society at large;
WHEREAS the Governments, either on their own or through organized irrigation districts, have maintained and operated their works since construction; and
WHEREAS the Government of Canada is in the process of turning its projects in South Western Saskatchewan over to the province or to irrigation districts in the area, by the year 2017; and
WHEREAS the Government of Saskatchewan with the implementation of the asset management plan for municipalities, arbitrarily listed works such as culverts and bridges, which intersect municipal roads, to be the property of the municipality; and
WHEREAS municipalities have no mechanism to tax either irrigation districts or public utility companies such, as Sask Water, which are located within their boundaries in order to source funds to deal with the liability, maintenance and replacement of such works;
BE IT RESOLVED that the government of Saskatchewan remove irrigation district and public water conveyance works structures from the asset lists of rural municipalities and assume full liability and responsibility for such works that they, and the organizations directly benefiting from those works, deem necessary for continued operation of irrigation districts and utility projects in the province of Saskatchewan.
Response from Honourable Bob Bjornerud, Minister of Agriculture:
Negotiations between the provincial government and municipalities regarding this matter were held in the 1960s after the initial construction of the South Saskatchewan River Irrigation District. These initial negotiations were unsuccessful.
Irrigation districts, under The Irrigation Act, 1996, are responsible for the operation, maintenance and replacement of their works. Under The Municipalities Act, the maintenance and replacement of irrigation works, such as bridges and culverts, on municipal road allowances is the responsibility of the municipalities. The Ministry, however, supports irrigation infill and expansion and continues to discuss options to assist the RMs and the irrigation districts in addressing the situation.