By Cole Parkinson
Discussion around the Yellow Lake pumping and cost-share agreement are still underway between the Municipal District of Taber, St. Mary River Irrigation District and the County of 40 Mile.
Yellow Lake is located southeast of the hamlet of Grassy Lake and the reservoir is owned by the SMRID.
The high water elevation threshold level being proposed by SMRID is 783 meters which will then trigger the start of pumping.
This will have no negative impact on any roads in the M.D. of Taber as the only road within the M.D. boundaries that may be possibly impacted by high water levels in Yellow Lake is Range Road 13-1, which currently has a centre line elevation of 784.376 meters.
“I met with County of Forty Mile and SMRID out at Yellow Lake at some point in the summer to discuss the proposal that is in front of you,” said Reeve Merrill Harris at the M.D.’s regular meeting on Nov. 24. “I spoke briefly with Reeve Steve Wikkerink of Forty Mile, they haven’t signed the agreement yet but they are in the process of going through the fine details to make sure they agree with what’s in the agreement. I think from a municipal point of view, we’re okay with the agreement.”
Both the M.D. of Taber and County of 40 Mile have lands that drain into Yellow Lake during periods of flooding with past flooding events mainly affecting County of 40 Mile infrastructure.
“As it stands now with the established levels, the infrastructure of the M.D., i.e. our road that is crossed, it would be unaffected. One key piece that came up at the last discussion was we would not be paying for pumping in the area they are using that water for their own benefit,” added CAO Arlos Crofts.
Within the agreement, energy pumping costs are split 50 per cent to SMRID, 30 per cent to the County of Newell and 20 per cent for the M.D.
And in the event of a flood, previous costs have ranged from $3,000- $20,000, depending on the severity of flooding events according to administration’s report.
“Range Road 13-1 was upgraded to a higher elevation a few years back with one of the other floods we had. So it’s not in any danger at all of getting flooded out,” added Jack Dunsmore, M.D. project manager.
While the added elevation has no doubt eased the minds of administration, it was also pointed out in severe flood events, there is still a chance RR 13-1 could see some water on it.
“In 2018, we probably would have topped it. It was probably under two or three feet. But most years, this is about keeping water off the roads and a lot of them are in Forty Mile but we do have the one in ours. Whether it’s right up to the edge of the road or whether it’s down, still, water splashing on top of the road is damage,” stated Coun. Brian Brewin.
A motion to approve and sign the tri-party agreement between the M.D. of Taber, SMRID and County of 40 Mile to share pumping costs as presented in the agreement was carried.