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Funding for Water Lines

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Resolution Category: 
Provincial Scope 7
Adopted with Amendments - Expired
Beiseker, Village of
Irricana, Town of
Linden, Village of
Carbon, Village of
Active Clauses: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Government of Alberta to provide equitable and consistent funding for water lines throughout the province of Alberta.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta has offered grant funding to the construction of regional water lines; and

WHEREAS this funding has not been equitable across the projects, causing great disparity in the rates charged for water across the province of Alberta; with some communities paying in excess of $3.50 per cubic meter.

Government Response: 

Feb 16, 2011 - Alberta Environment

The Water Wastewater Partnership Funding Program does not provide Government of Alberta funding for approved systems serving rural subdivisions and co-ops. Funding under the Water for Life Regional Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems Initiative targets regional commissions for municipal drinking water and wastewater; however, this does not include raw water supplies. Alberta Transportation administrates these two funding programs and would be best able to respond to the resolution regarding water.

Mar 17, 2011 - Alberta Transportation 

Alberta Transportation provides funding for waterlines through the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP). This program provides cost-shared funding to eligible municipalities to assist in the construction of municipal water supply and treatment, as well as wastewater treatment and disposal facilities. Various initiatives have been included in the program to ensure the needs of Alberta municipalities are met. The program ensures that Albertans have access to safe water supplies and adequate wastewater treatment. All municipalities receiving assistance are encouraged to support Alberta companies and are required to use the private sector for all work undertaken. This program enhances life in smaller urban centres and allows municipalities to attract development to their communities. Municipalities apply for funding on a project-by-project basis.

In some cases, funding can be provided for regional facilities (serving more than one municipality) where a regional concept is more cost-effective and environmentally sound than a stand-alone system. Since 2005, regional water systems receive funding under Water for Life. The water strategy initiative is only available for new regional water or wastewater systems or new extensions to existing regional water or wastewater systems. Funding is available to all regional commissions or groups of two or more municipalities (or eligible hamlets) that are eligible for funding under the AMWWP. Eligible municipalities include groups of cities, towns, villages, summer villages, rural municipalities, or Métis settlements. Regional Service Commissions, municipal partnerships, public-private ventures, and municipalities with contracted services to privately owned utilities are eligible to receive grant funding assistance.

Existing regional commissions and municipalities with existing regional systems are eligible for funding on the same cost-sharing basis as for water or wastewater projects. Funding may be available for upgrades to existing regional water supply and treatment and wastewater treatment and disposal facilities under the same project eligibility criteria as the AMWWP, subject to a detailed assessment of eligibility by the department. Commissions/municipalities will be required to demonstrate that the regional alternative is cost-effective and can be economically justified compared to alternative facility solutions. Environmental requirements can be taken into account as well as efficiencies in management and operational practices. A weighted average would be used to calculate the financial assistance for the existing system upgrades and will be calculated based on the cost of the eligible project, pr-rated by the official populations of each member municipality. The grant for each member’s share will then be calculated based on the formula outlined under the AMWWP.

The province funds the urban municipal share of regional pipelines, with some allowance for rural flows/development. The Kneehill Regional Water Commission system project was planned with significant capacity for rural development. However, the provincial program would have been able to fund only about 50% of the project at that time. The commission chose instead to apply in 2004 for funding from a federal infrastructure program whereby the province contributed 33% ($10 million) and the federal government provided 33% ($10 million). Cost over-runs were funded at 64% by the province ($3 million). The Water for Life program was introduced in 2005 whereby 90% funding was available for new multi-municipal water supply systems. There were no provisions for retroactive funding of existing systems.

AUMA Notes: 

AUMA rejects this response and is addressing this issue through its water policy development.

AUMA Comments: 
Rejects government response