By Justin Seward
The County of Forty Mile council confirmed at their June 24 meeting, a water cost share agreement for Yellow Lake will be in place with the M.D. of Taber and St. Mary’s River Irrigation District within soon.
“We haven’t finalized the details,” said Steve Wikkerink, county reeve.
“We’ve been asked to make some adjustments to an agreement we’ve been working on for a few years now and pretty well have all the details worked out where we want them.”
Wikkerink and county Chief Administrative Officer Keith Bodin are working on some rewording of the agreement before sending it back to SMRID and the M.D. of Taber.
Since 2011, after the big flood, the county put some money in the pumps that SMRID installed on the north side of the lake to redirect water in the event the water gets too high.
“In some of the events and the cost of pumping this water out, (the) agreement is split three ways. SMRID picks up 50 per cent of costs, we (the county) pay 30 per cent of the cost and the M.D. of Taber pays 20 per cent,” he said.
Wikkerink says where this agreement into question was two falls ago when the lake was getting close to where it was suppose to be for winter.
“We ended up in the agreement with the three parties,” he said.
“We pumped some water down the river because everyone was done irrigating, and we had the ratepayers question all of us of why we were dumping this water down the river when it seemed like Yellow Lake still had some room in it.”
The county’s main issue is the Burdett oiled road crossing the lake and since then the public works has put a lot more armour on the west side of road, added Wikkerink.
“That’s where we get the biggest winds coming from, which then pushes the waves up against that road,” he said.
“We’re just in discussions now to see if we can re adjust our fall levels to give the area farmers around that lake just a little more security.”
There has been no timeline set for signatures on the agreement.