By Justin Seward
The County of Forty Mile’s development and planning staff officer Nathan Ogden brought forward more information to council on how to get irrigation water to the Hamlet of Winnifred on Jan. 13.
Winnifred residents have been living with raw water for many years and are looking to get a source closer to home.
The closest canal system is west of the hamlet.
“He had gathered up a bunch of numbers of what it would cost to buy pipe, install the pipe, buy an electric motor and get that in place,” said Steve Wikkerink, county reeve.
“We’re still discussing what to do when we get it to the community. There (are) a number of options. But we’re still doing more homework on that. We gave the planning and development officer some more things to look into—so we should have some more information at the end of January. But we are working on trying to get some irrigation water to the community because whenever we’ve had meetings out there, that’s been one of their big asks as a community, is to get irrigation water out there for their yards, for the development of trees—so that those families out there can grow gardens and maybe some fire protection and so they don’t have to haul water from Bow Island or Seven Persons.”
Wikkerink said it’s one thing to haul water to dump in a cistern and you use that for your household, but when you have to buy treated water and then use that to water your trees or try and grow a garden, that probably gets expensive and old after a while.
Wikkerink expects Ogden will have another conversation with the St. Mary’s Irrigation District to ensure what the fees are going to be to access the water.
When more concrete numbers are solidified, the county will want to meet with the community and have a discussion with residents again.
“When we met with them a couple years ago, they were willing to assist in getting some water there,” said Wikkerink.
“Once we get some more firm numbers of what this might be, we need to be fair and go back to that community—present what we put together— and see if there is still an appetite there for them to be involved in it somehow.”
The project would go across one resident’s irrigation land and Ogden has been in contact with the gentleman.
“He is in support of us getting water to that community— so he is in support of us going across his land,” he said.
“But he has some requirements that we have to meet in order to be able to cross his land. Of course one of them is he would like to see this done before he starts seeding next year’s crop. We’re in a fairly tight window here but we’re trying to accomplish that but (there is a lot) of work to be done before that.”