Saturday, June 29, 2013

More Aqua7 Water Woes

At last Monday's Council meeting I voiced my concern that the Town of Drumheller had raised their water rates to the Aqua7 Regional Water Services Commission by 10% over the past two years. They have asked for part of this increase to start in July of this year, even though our contract with them stipulates increases must take effect in January of each year.

It appears everything costs more these days, but I'm wondering if such a huge increase in water rates from Drumheller is really necessary.  I hope that we will be able to meet with representatives from Drumheller in the near future to discuss these increases.  They need to explain to us why such an increase is necessary at this point in time.

I and the rest of the Aqua 7 water commission need to know that the increases in the water rates will be used to pay for upgrades in the water treatment plant and its supply line to our Kirkpatrick reservoir - and not to upgrade the water supply infrastructure within the Town of Drumheller.  We also need to know that we are getting a wholesale rate on our cost of water from Drumheller, and not a different retail rate.

It has been suggested (again) that Beiseker might be able to go back on its well water system if Aqua7 water becomes too expensive.  In my opinion, though, that possibility is totally out of the question.  The aquafer from which Beiseker drew its water from has been severely depleted by increased use over the past ten years.  Without drilling a series of new (and expensive) wells, I doubt we could pull enough water out of the aquafer to supply our growing community. 

We also signed a contract with Aqua7 at its conception that we would do our part in supporting the system and paying down its debt.  We would still be responsible for our share of the debt as agreed to in that agreement, even if we stopped using the pipeline.

I truly believe that Aqua7 Regional Water Services Commission will continue to grow and prosper.  I am sure Rocky View County will be able to buy and sell Aqua7 water in the future.  I am confident that the provincial government will one day finally wake up, smell the coffee and realize they treated the Aqua7 folks very, very badly and make amends as recommended in their own study made a few years ago!

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