(source: Water Security Agency)
Over the next year Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency (WSA) plans to invest a record $43.6 million in its water management infrastructure, ensuring its 69 dams and 130km of conveyance channels operate reliably and safely through a comprehensive rehabilitation and maintenance plan.
“While many of these structures are decades old, they are a key priority to our economy and way of life,” said the provincial minister responsible for the Water Security Agency, Dustin Duncan in a media release. “The proof of that priority is shown by this year’s investment, which is 15 times the amount of 10 years ago.”
Highlighting the program is the ongoing rehabilitation of the M1 Canal, a 22.5km-long water supply canal extending from Lake Diefenbaker to Broderick Reservoir near Outlook. Built in the 1960s, the canal provides water for 56,000 acres of irrigation in the area, supplying water to six reservoirs, several towns and villages, four potash mines, 13 wetland projects and Blackstrap Provincial Park.
The 10-year rehabilitation project, now just under 80% complete, aims to alleviate seepage, increase canal capacity and improve the reliability of the canal’s water supply. This fiscal year, WSA will invest $13.7 million to rehabilitate another 4.6kms of the M-1 canal system.
Other major capital work on provincial infrastructure includes Buffalo Pound control structure ($630,000), Eastside Pump Station ($609,000), Qu’Appelle River Dam ($808,000), Upper Qu’Appelle conveyance channel ($754,000), and Theodore Dam ($1.54 million).
About $33 million of the total will be invested in maintenance of WSA’s long-standing suite of provincial dams and conveyance works. However, an additional $10 million will be invested in various projects on 20 dams previously belonging to the federal government that have been transferred to provincial control under WSA.
Located primarily in southwest Saskatchewan, many of the former federally-operated dams require extensive investments in upkeep including various structural work, operator safety upgrades, work to the land surrounding the sites and public safety signage. The largest single project will be $4.2 million invested in the Highfield Dam, south of Rush Lake, where embankment rehabilitation will continue and multi-year work to construct a new spillway and outlet will start.