Vote for water
Wednesday, Oct 04, 2017 09:43 am
“Whiskey’s for drinking, water is for fighting.” So said the old-timers.
Hopefully we have not yet got to the point of fighting over water but we have surely got to the point where we need to talk about it.
The way in which we manage our water supplies over the next few years is surely the most important topic facing us in the upcoming civic election and yet I hear very little discussion of it by the candidates.
Lots of stirring talk about swimming pools and a vibrant community but almost nothing about how we are going to keep all of us who live here supplied with an adequate supply of the most important element of life, namely water.
In fact, without an assured water supply, all of these noble aspirations will dry up and blow away in the chinook wind. The Sheep River basin is already short of water and the growth of communities across the catchment is putting more and more stress on it.
The Sheep has a fairly small collection area and most of our water comes from snow and rainfall along the eastern slope of the Rockies.
As we found out this year, that supply is both dwindling and erratic. Unlike the Highwood and Bow, the Sheep does not access the mountains and valleys behind the front range where they can expect more precipitation.
When challenged, our civic leaders seem to fall back on the response that we are hoping to acquire more water licenses in the future. Unfortunately water licenses to not create water. All they do is give us the opportunity to use up what we have more quickly.
In fact, if Okotoks wishes to continue to grow, we have to have access to more water, either by building some storage capacity upstream or tapping into water from the Bow or Highwood. Both of these are still years away and what we need to hear from our potential Town Councilors is what they intend doing in the meantime.
Building more houses, looking for water licenses and hoping for rain is just not good enough.