Sask. Water Security Agency to focus on preventative measures

On Wednesday, the government said the focus of the annual flood damage reduction program will shift toward funding more long-term preventative projects.

$1.5 million available for projects

Flooding in Lampman saw a schoolyard completely submerged. (Photo submitted by Doug Kerslake)

Saskatchewan's Water Security Agency (WSA) has announced changes to one of its programs that helps cities and towns deal with flooding. 

On Wednesday, the government said the focus of the annual flood damage reduction program will shift toward funding more long-term preventative projects.

In a news release, Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said the since program's start in 2011 more than 3,400 people have accessed $74 million used to build both temporary and permanent flood works. 

"Shifting away from an emergency flood mitigation program to a permanent program allows communities to undertake long-term flood mitigation, reducing the risk of flooding in future years," Duncan said in Wednesday's release.

The change takes effect on Wednesday. 

The government said the program will provide $1.5 million in funds this year, but every project will be cost shared between the WSA and interested communities.

A government spokesperson told CBC $2 million was budgeted under the program in previous years. For the 2018-19 year, the spokesperson said $500,000 was allocated under the existing program and $1.5 million for the new one. 

Communities will be able to apply under four different categories which deal with long-term flood planning, which include the construction of permanent flood works and flood plain mapping.