Postby Oscar » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:40 pm


[ http://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/n ... -lake-area ]

Released on July 14, 2016

The Water Security Agency (WSA) will be enforcing regulations to close unapproved drainage works that currently contribute water to the Quill Lakes.

“Our government introduced new drainage regulations last fall and the Quill Lakes is a priority area where impacts to landowners around the lake need to be addressed,” Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Herb Cox said. “This is a very complex water management situation and, while there are no easy solutions to this issue, this is one step that will help us lower the lake level and prevent future flooding.”

All landowners with unapproved drainage works that drain into the Quill Lakes are being asked to close those works before October 1, 2016. Starting immediately, WSA will be focusing on the largest unapproved drainage works in the area which cause the greatest impact. WSA will work with landowners directly to undertake inspections to confirm unapproved works and ensure plans for closure take place.

Last fall, the new Agricultural Water Management Strategy and regulations governing agricultural drainage were announced. The new drainage regulations were created after extensive online and industry stakeholder consultations. More than 500 public participants and 15 industry and environmental groups provided input into the creation of the new approach to drainage in Saskatchewan. These changes were intended to address many issues including the impacts related to flooding.

Under the new regulations, to be considered for an approval, drainage works must have an adequate outlet. The Quill Lakes are not considered an adequate outlet because of the flooding and environmental impacts. The WSA will not grant approvals for works which contribute water to the Quill Lakes. Drainage works may be eligible for approval if impacts such as flooding can be addressed while ensuring water from any project does not flow to the Quill Lakes.

In addition, WSA will be working with Ducks Unlimited (DU) Canada to eliminate or limit flows from DU projects into Quill Lakes. This includes projects at Ponass Lake and Foam Lake. WSA will work with DU to re-establish the naturally higher water levels in these wetlands to provide for additional storage and prevent more water from flowing into the Quill Lakes.

“We know the complexities of the situation at Quill Lakes and appreciate the provincial government taking action to reduce the inflow of water into the lake,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said. “We support the enforcement of these drainage regulations across the province and this is a key area where closing unapproved projects will have a significant benefit.”

“We appreciate the challenges the Quill Lakes has created and the action the provincial government is taking to enforce these drainage regulations,” APAS President Norm Hall said. “This will help to address the flooding issue and ultimately reduce the level of the lake.”

For more information, please visit [ http://www.wsask.ca/QuillLakes ] -30-

For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997
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Postby Oscar » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:36 am

Province to crack down on drainage into Quill Lakes, Sask.

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.3679549 ]

High water levels have caused flooding of roads and farmland

CBC News Posted: Jul 14, 2016 2:33 PM CT| Last Updated: Jul 14, 2016 2:53 PM CT

The Saskatchewan government will start enforcing new drainage regulations at Quill Lakes in an effort to reduce rising water levels, which have led to flooding of roads and farmland.

The provincial Water Security Agency announced today it will start enforcing regulations under the new Agricultural Water Management strategy, which was released last fall.

In recent years, heavy rain and run-off has raised the water level, sometimes to record highs, resulting in Big Quill Lake and Little Quill Lake joining and flooding roads and farmland.

The government developed a proposal to build a diversion to Last Mountain Lake, but it was abandoned in 2015 due to widespread public concern.

Now the province is giving landowners until Oct. 1 to cease all projects that drain into the lake.

Herb Cox, who is the minister responsible for the WSA, said it was a priority area for the province.

"This is a very complex water management situation and, while there are no easy solutions to this issue, this is one step that will help us lower the lake level and prevent future flooding," he said.

The WSA said it would be focusing on the largest unapproved drainage works causing the greatest impact.

- - -

Related Stories

■ Proposed Quill Lakes diversion project scrapped

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.3232945 ]
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Postby Oscar » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:50 am

Quill Lakes flooding prevention continues despite protests

[ http://www.cjme.com/2017/10/31/quill-la ... -protests/ ]

Regina / 980 CJME Sarah Mills October 31, 2017 04:56 pm

Quill Lakes flooding prevention continues despite protests - A satellite image of The Quill Lakes area. (Google Maps)

The Quill Lakes Watershed Association continues to work on flood prevention in the area despite some vocal concerns from those downstream.

The association’s chair Kerry Holderness wants to clear up what he feels are misconceptions about what is being done to prevent further flooding.

The Quill Lakes water level has risen 22-feet in the last 13 years and both farmland and private land is being wiped out due to flooding.

In order to turn that trend around those in the area had to first create a watershed association. That was done in 2016.

Now the association has been receiving reports from the province’s Water Security Agency on what possible options exist.

Holderness has been told the best solutions are an injection well system or a diversion to Last Mountain Lake.

“We chose those options because they have the biggest option in the shortest amount of time,” Holderness said by phone Tuesday.

Feasibility studies are now underway on both options to determine the cost and how the solutions would be put into action.

Until that work is complete, no project will be approved.

But many who live downstream said these options just move the flooding elsewhere, creating further problems. Holderness has been told via social media that more studies are needed.

“This is like standing on the railroad tracks and watching a train come at you for 10 years and you decide to do another study when it’s five seconds from hitting you,” Holderness maintained.

While waiting for any decision, Holderness is looking at what short-term options can be considered. There is one natural outflow on the Quill Lakes that hasn’t yet flooded. He contends a series of gates could be used to control the flow of water.

“That was one of the big things that attracted this particular proposal because we did have the back door option that we could put it back in the Quill Lakes if there was no room in the downstream system,” Holderness explained.

That short-term option does not require an environmental impact assessment, which many have criticized. In fact, it was raised by the NDP during Question Period on Monday.

Holderness insisted the association is following all regulations and processes, but that particular option is so small it doesn’t require such an assessment.

He believed it is the way forward as they wait out Mother Nature and prevent any further problems in the water system.

“It is a major cost saving, it’s a major environmental saving and it is preparing the way for us to plan for future flood events,” Holderness maintained.

The Saskatchewan Alliance for Water Sustainability group continues to protest the plans and is holding a water ceremony next week.
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Postby Oscar » Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:05 am

Farmers sue Water Security Agency, claiming it did nothing to stop illegal drainage

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... skatchewan ]

Southeast Saskatchewan landowners say their complaints back to the mid-1990s and remain unaddressed

Guy Quenneville · CBC News · Posted: Apr 06, 2018 4:19 PM CT | Last Updated: April 6

Two Saskatchewan farmers are suing the province's Water Security Agency (WSA), claiming the agency has done nothing to stop flooding that has rendered parts of their land unusable for farming.

Doug Higgins, who owns land in Churchbridge, and Peter Onofreychuk of MacNutt filed identically-worded statements of claim in Saskatoon's Court of Queen's Bench earlier this month.

Both say they began complaining to the WSA about flooding from "unauthorized drainage" in the mid-1990s and that two decades later, the WSA "has taken no steps whatsoever" to address those complaints.

Onofreychuk said that has cost him money.

"I haven't seeded about 60 acres for about six to seven years already," Onofreychuk told CBC News.

'A very band-aid approach'

The WSA is a Saskatchewan Crown corporation that regulates drainage in the province. It declined to comment on the suit Friday, "as this matter is before the courts."

Flooding, specifically what causes it and how effectively it's overseen, has become a flashpoint in the Quill Lakes and other areas of Saskatchewan commonly struck by excess water.

During an agriculture-themed leadership forum last fall, then-candidate-for-premier Tina Beaudry-Mellor said the flooding in Quill Lakes was partly the result of "illegal drainage that we haven't gotten under control."

"I think we have taken a very band-aid approach to this issue for a very long time and we have a lot more work to do," she said.

"The very first thing we need to do is get everyone around table and have a conversation about a long-term strategy for this."

Onofreychuk said that's the very idea behind serving the WSA with legal papers.

"Get them to the table," he said.

= = = = =

Quill Lakes flooding fix should be based on science, not 'hysteria', say Sask. Party leadership hopefuls

[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.4477158 ]

January 8, 2018

Potential successors to Sask Party leader and Premier Brad Wall agree: the fix to the flooding in the province's Quill Lakes area should be based on science.

The near-identical pronouncements come in the wake of a dispute, headed for the courtroom next week, about whether Wall's government should have ordered an environmental impact assessment for a plan to redirect water from the flood-prone area.

Critics and skeptics of the government have said that decision robbed the project of a rigorous, scientific analysis.

The five candidates to succeed Wall took part in an agricultural-themed leadership forum in Regina last week. The forum was organized by groups such as the Saskatchewan Farm Stewardship Association.

Each candidate was asked whether, if they become premier, they would say the Quill Lakes flooding was caused "primarily by extreme weather events and not the fault of the region's farmers."

The question spurred broad responses about what should be done about flooding in Quill Lakes and other areas.

First up was Scott Moe, who didn't directly answer the original question about the cause of the flooding.

Candidates running for leadership of the Saskatchewan Party have differing opinions on what should be done at the Quill Lakes. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

"We need to work at the local level to ensure that we come up with the very best solutions, if there are any, and to look at those through a science-based approach," he said of Quill Lakes.

While he acknowledged the options being looked at by the Quill Lakes Watershed Association, he added, "There's a number of things that need to be looked at through a science-based lens to ensure that we're not just moving the problem from one area to another."

Downstream residents have reacted with concern to the association's proposal to build a channel redirecting water from the Quill Lakes area downstream to Last Mountain Lake.

Tina Beaudry-Mellor said she wouldn't make that specific statement about the cause of flooding because she believes illegal drainage, and not just precipitation, are to blame, calling the government's existing approach to the problem a "band-aid approach."

"The very first thing we need to do is get everyone around the table and have a conversation about a long-term strategy for this," she said.

Gord Wyant said he wasn't convinced drainage is the cause based on engineering reports.

He, too, called for a science-based and collaborative fix, but added, "The approach can't be taken based on hysteria."

Wyant added that hydrology experts at the University of Saskatchewan could be of help.

Ken Cheveldayoff was next.

"Rather than what the next premier is going to publicly state, or what the opinion's going to be," a flood-focused cabinet committee should be formed, with room for representatives from the Water Security Agency, he said.

"This has to be raised from a ministerial priority to a provincial priority and there has to be discussions with the federal government as well," said Cheveldayoff.

Alanna Koch blamed the weather, not illegal drainage, but said drainage may have "perhaps pressured the situation."

She said if the government finds a way to ensure "responsible" water management across the province, it "needs to have the right resources available."

Court hearing coming up

The forum came ahead of next week's Court of Queen's Bench hearing in Regina about whether the Saskatchewan government should have ordered an environmental impact assessment of the Quill Lake Watershed Association's proposed 25-kilometre drainage channel leading to Last Mountain Lake.

The Pasqua First Nation, which owns land downstream of the Quill Lakes, says the government should have, and called for a judicial review of the decision.

Both groups will argue their sides in court, with a judge potentially calling for a halt to the project until the greater issue of whether the government erred is decided.

Kerry Holderness, the chair of the association, said Saturday the future of the multi-phase project depends on the outcome of the legal process.

= = = = =


•Sask. minister 'ignored' public qualms over Quill Lakes project, group says in court filing - December 16, 2017
[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.4450910 ]

•Lack of environmental review for water channel is 'mystifying': law prof - November 10, 2017
[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.4396391 ]

•Quill Lakes water-diversion project bypasses environmental impact assessment - October 28, 2017
[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.4374149 ]

•Sask. gov't process has people 'in the dark' on Quill Lakes water diversion plan - October 29, 2017
[ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon ... -1.4376282? ]
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Postby Oscar » Mon May 14, 2018 9:25 am


[ http://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/n ... compliance ]

Released on May 14, 2018

A record 693 quarter sections of land were brought into drainage compliance in the 2017-18 fiscal year, representing an increase of over 110 per cent from the year previous and a five-fold increase from 2014-15.

“We have introduced the most significant changes to agriculture water management in over 30 years to help manage, organize and control water in the province,” Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency Dustin Duncan said. “We have worked with Saskatchewan producers and stakeholders to implement these changes and while there is still more work to do, it has helped us achieve far greater compliance than under the previous system.”

The overwhelming majority of the approvals (635) were brought into voluntary compliance, with only eight per cent (58) coming from complaint-based closure.

As one example, the landowners of the Lang West Conservation and Development area represent one of 2017-18’s major success stories. Formed by area farmers in 2012 after flooding concerns the previous year, the group came up with an innovative, environmentally responsible approach to channel their run-off to the Moose Jaw River.

Together with the help of the Moose Jaw River Watershed Stewards (MJRWS), the group approached the Water Security Agency (WSA) with a drainage solution that was approved in March of 2018. A single approval was granted covering 30 quarters of agricultural land, lessening the risk of floods and protecting certain wetlands, while also managing wildlife habitat impacts.

“We’re proud of this project because we relied on the three C’s to get the work done,” Lang West Conservation and Development Area Authority Chair Jim Faulkner said. “First there was strong commitment from a core group of producers interested in responsible drainage, and second, good communication between all of us to ensure we understood how to best move forward. Last, there was co-operation between all of us to work with the WSA and local stakeholders to make this project happen.”

“The MJRWS was engaged by WSA and the Lang West group to act as a Qualified Person to develop the application for drainage approval,” Moose Jaw River Watershed Stewards Manager Janine Heinrichs said. “Throughout the process there were challenges, but together with WSA regional staff and Lang West group, we worked to find a sound solution to ensure this project would succeed and mitigate risks to the area.”

“These record numbers show hundreds of landowners are now working together to create responsible drainage networks that respect individual properties and ensure the safe management of our water resources,” Duncan said. “It will create lasting benefits for Saskatchewan producers, our downstream neighbors, and future generations.”

For more information on the Agricultural Water Management Strategy or to start a drainage project, producers can visit [ http://www.wsask.ca ]. -30-

For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle, Water Security Agency, Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: patrick.boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997
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