Farmers join forces to better control water, flooding in southeast Sask.
Project brings together drainage management for 73 landowners in Gooseberry Lake Watershed area
The way water drainage happens for 73 farmers in southeast Saskatchewan is going through a big change.
The provincial Water Security Agency approved a project Thursday that will see farmers team up to handle drainage on more than 7,300 hectares, or 113 quarter sections, of land.
The project is believed to be the largest single agricultural drainage approval in the province's history.
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In the past, landowners in the Gooseberry Lake Watershed area, located about 130 kilometres southeast of Regina, had to file for three separate permits for one drainage project. Sometimes it would take months or even years to get approval.
The newly approved Dry Lake Project means the farmers' drainage is now controlled by 30 gated culverts, operated by landowners, that will help funnel excess water off fields and into Moose Mountain Creek and, finally, the Souris River.
The culverts can hold back water when river levels are too high and covers 22 hectares of wetlands for water retention.
Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Scott Moe said the new project will give farmers greater, faster control over flooding on their fields.
The Water Security Agency said there are 12 similar projects of different sizes in the works throughout flood-prone areas of Saskatchewan. In total, 900 quarters of land would be impacted.
Manitoba has blamed Saskatchewan for its flooding problems as recently as last month.
Moe said the provincial government is working with people in Manitoba and has had discussions as recently as Wednesday.
"We continue to work with them as water doesn't go away when it runs off of your property; it doesn't go away when it runs out of your municipality; and it doesn't go away when it runs out of your province," Moe said.
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister told CBC in January that he'd like to partner further with Saskatchewan on water management as part of a long-term plan.
Manitoba farm groups have long accused Saskatchewan of not following proper land-drainage rules, causing spring meltwater to rush downstream into the neighbouring province.
With files from The Canadian Press