Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drumheller throws up new roadblocks!

It was reported in the Drumheller Mail newspaper that the Drumheller town council has once again voted to refuse to allow the Aqua 7 Regional Water Commission to extend its boundaries in Rocky View County, so that the county could actually sell some water!  

I'd hoped the article was in error!  It isn't.  But I'd like to say "Thank you!" to Drumheller Mayor Terry Yemen, as well as Councillors Sharel Shoff and Doug Stanford for voting in support of Rocky View's request!  Approving it would have helped all members of the Aqua 7 water system who are struggling with water rates right now!  I especially appreciated Councillor Shoff's quote in the Drumheller Mail article;
“We are either going to sell the water or not. Either we’re going to be a regional partner or not," explained Councillor Shoff. “We’re not increasing how much water, we’re just saying they can sell it where they want. In my opinion, we, as a Town, either want to be a regional partner, or we don’t. The more water we sell, the cost should go down for our residents.”
As you recall this has happened once before, when Aqua 7 wanted to sell water to the CrossIron Mills mall and surrounding area, before the mall was built.  One Drumheller councillor was rumored to have said at that time that if the mall wanted to have Red Deer River water, it should be built in Drumheller - and that the millions of dollars Rocky View was going to give Drumheller would be of no benefit!  The provincial government who had vowed to help us sell water said absolutely nothing, so the project to supply CrossIron Mills with water from Aqua 7 was killed!  Now it appears it's deja vu all over again! 

Rocky View County is a fully paid-up member of the water commission but has yet to be able to buy (and then sell) any water from the commission!

This is very frustrating.  Drumheller isn't even a member of Aqua 7 yet they're calling the shots!  All they do is sell us water.  What we do with that water should be our (Aqua 7's) business!  That's sort of like me buying a new car and the dealer telling me where and when I can drive it!

I think Drumheller is already getting a heck of a deal selling its water to us.  I understand that they sell it to us at the retail rate; the same rate Drumheller residents pay!  Then the commission has to add on all the Aqua 7 fees which makes our water prohibitively expensive. 

The way I see it Beiseker, Linden, Carbon, Acme, Kneehill County and Irricana are partially paying for any improvements to Drumheller's water systems!  Rocky View County isn't paying, of course, because they still can't buy (and then sell) any water! 

I wish we lived in Alberta, where its government swore to make sure all Albertans have access to clean, plentiful and economically sustainable water!!

Related post:  Water Rates
Related post: Article in the Drumheller Mail


  1. We do have economically sustainable water??? We're paying for it aren't we??? Then it's economically sustainable.

    1. You are correct! We do have economically sustainable water here in Beiseker. We always have had! But at a cost! When the provincial government gave us funds last year to refinance debts of the Aqua 7 Regional Water Services Commission we were able to extend the payback period of our loan which lowered the cost of servicing the debt. The result was a lowering of water costs to each of the seven municipalities.

      Unfortunately I believe that the cost of water is still too high! Many regional water projects built after ours were funded up to 90% by the province. Ours was financed a little over 33% by the province. This funding discrepancy is the main reason why our water is so expensive. I truly believe the provincial government must own up to this discrepancy and make amends!

      After last year's refinancing efforts the water commission is doing much better now but things are not a bed of roses yet!