Proposed Quill Lakes diversion project scrapped
Widespread public concern forces halt, Water Security Agency looks for other options
A proposal to lower water levels on Quill Lake with a diversion to Last Mountain Lake is off the table.
"We have heard the concerns on this issue and have decided not to proceed with this project," said Herb Cox, the province's minister responsible for the Water Security Agency.
The Agency said it will now review other possible alternatives around the Quill Lakes, including application of the drainage regulations in the new Agricultural Water Management Strategy. The regulations are intended to minimize the impact of drainage projects.
The diversion project was first proposed due to concerns about saline water from the Quill Lakes spilling into freshwater lakes and streams.
The Agency said several years of heavy precipitation and run off had raised the water to record levels, resulting in Big Quill Lake and Little Quill Lake joining and flooding roads and farmland.
If the lakes rise by another metre, they will spill into Last Mountain Lake and towards the Qu'Appelle River System.
To prevent that, the Agency proposed to divert the flow of Kutawagan Creek away from Big Quill Lake to Last Mountain Lake. It said the project would not drain any water from Big Quill Lake into Last Mountain Lake.
Jason Friesen of the Quill Lakes Flood Impact Group said witnessing the rampant flooding has been difficult for stakeholders financially and emotionally.
"You can't sell [the land], borrow against it. Really, it's stuff you work for your whole life is gone," Friesen said.
"Even the land that's still productive, as water comes up, you can't really say for sure where it's going to stop."
However, some members of the community including the FSIN called for more study on the potential environmental impact.