Res #: 4-21A
Responses Received: Yes
Departments: Water Security Agency
WHEREAS the Saskatchewan Government (Water Security Agency) has been working to create a Water Management Strategy; and
WHEREAS the Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture has publicly stated that he does not want to get involved in water issues to help protect his industry from undue negative outside pressures on the agricultural land use; and
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM work with the Water Security Agency, Saskatchewan Agriculture, and related non-governmental organizations to create a workable Water Management Strategy that allows agricultural landowners in Saskatchewan the freedom of maximizing the production capabilities of their land investment while allowing for workable natural areas to balance out some of the societal wants.
Responses From: Water Security Agency
May 14, 2021
WSA is committed to working with other partners and stakeholders, including the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Environment, to develop a Made-in-Saskatchewan approach that balances sustainable economic development with the environment. Since April 2016, the average number of approved quarter sections per year has increased 14 times compared to the previous program (1981-2016). However, our work continues as we develop the Agricultural Water Management Mitigation Policy.
Over the last year, WSA consulted with many stakeholders on the strategy and it became clear that we need to develop practical solutions for Saskatchewan producers. As a result, 11 demonstration projects were started in the summer of 2020 to test various options that could be considered as part of an approach to mitigation. These projects include using irrigation, wetland retention, nutrient management and flow controls to manage the impacts of drainage.
The agricultural demonstration and research projects will inform how future policies on wetlands are formed. Agricultural producer groups, including SARM, will be key stakeholders to help inform, shape and support what polices regarding mitigation within the strategy will look like. The approach to agricultural water management, including a mitigation policy, will be designed to support the economic growth of the province by building a sustainable agricultural industry through effective water management that maintains good water quality, safeguards wildlife habitat, and improves runoff management in times of flood and drought.
The Honourable Fred Bradshaw – Minister Responsible for Water Security Agency