Bu Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Lethbridge County council is supporting the extension of a rural water agreement with the Town of Nobleford.
During their regular April 1 meeting, Lethbridge County council discussed an extension to a water agreement between the county and the Town of Nobleford.
A 2010 agreement between the town and county allows for Nobleford to supply potable water to rural users who are members of the Lethbridge North County Potable Water Co-op (LNCPWC). Nobleford has a diversion licence from the Lethbridge North Irrigation District for raw water – which is treated at their water plant facility.
The defined agreement for water usage expires in 2027 and Nobleford town administration has asked to extend the agreement, which would allow for them to further plan out capital utility works to meet demand requirements from its customers.
The county holds a licence to divert water for this area, on behalf of LNCPWC, which expires in June 2035.
The amount of water available through the current agreement is 82,966 cubic metres per year, with usage in 2020 being 30,128 cubic metres, and the average used in the last five years being about 26,000 cubic metres. As the amount used is well below the agreement’s maximum, Nobleford’s 2021 Utility Rates charges county residents $1.55 per cubic metre for water usage through a rural pipeline. Water rates are typically based on cost recovery and Nobleford invoices county residents and LNCPWC members accordingly for water usage.
“The county basically acts as the middle person in this agreement, in that the agreement with the Town of Nobleford is with Lethbridge County, all the water supply goes through the north co-op,” said Jeremy Wickson, director of Public Works for the county. Coun. Morris Zeinstra asked how many gallons it works out to a day for LNCPWC members who were getting it from Nobleford if they were taking the maximum. Wickson said he didn’t have those numbers in front of him, but noted they had consistently used way less than the maximum limit.
“They’re well within their capacity and their usage is quite low, and if their usage is right in around a (cubic metre) a day, whereas they’re allotted two cubes a day, is what that average usage amounts to for these rural water users,” said Wickson. “Obviously, the amount of water that is being used with the amount of users is not even coming close to the capacity of the licence, so there is a potential for (growth), but they have to plan for essentially maximum usage within the rural area,” said Wickson. Coun. Steve Campbell said it would also help the county’s long-term planning as well in ensuring they had access to water in the future, and asked if there was an end-date, or if there had to be one, in the new agreement. Wickson said typically every agreement had to have some sort of expiry date, although in terms of planning, a longer one was better.
Council passed a motion to send correspondence to the Town of Nobleford to express their interest, support and commitment to further extending the rural water agreement past 2027.