The Quill Lakes Watershed Association continues to work on flood prevention in the area despite some vocal concerns from those downstream.
The association’s chair Kerry Holderness wants to clear up what he feels are misconceptions about what is being done to prevent further flooding.
The Quill Lakes water level has risen 22-feet in the last 13 years and both farmland and private land is being wiped out due to flooding.
In order to turn that trend around those in the area had to first create a watershed association. That was done in 2016.
Now the association has been receiving reports from the province’s Water Security Agency on what possible options exist.
Holderness has been told the best solutions are an injection well system or a diversion to Last Mountain Lake.
“We chose those options because they have the biggest option in the shortest amount of time,” Holderness said by phone Tuesday.
Feasibility studies are now underway on both options to determine the cost and how the solutions would be put into action.
Until that work is complete, no project will be approved.
But many who live downstream said these options just move the flooding elsewhere, creating further problems. Holderness has been told via social media that more studies are needed.
“This is like standing on the railroad tracks and watching a train come at you for 10 years and you decide to do another study when it’s five seconds from hitting you,” Holderness maintained.
While waiting for any decision, Holderness is looking at what short-term options can be considered. There is one natural outflow on the Quill Lakes that hasn’t yet flooded. He contends a series of gates could be used to control the flow of water.
“That was one of the big things that attracted this particular proposal because we did have the back door option that we could put it back in the Quill Lakes if there was no room in the downstream system,” Holderness explained.
That short-term option does not require an environmental impact assessment, which many have criticized. In fact, it was raised by the NDP during Question Period on Monday.
Holderness insisted the association is following all regulations and processes, but that particular option is so small it doesn’t require such an assessment.
He believed it is the way forward as they wait out Mother Nature and prevent any further problems in the water system.
“It is a major cost saving, it’s a major environmental saving and it is preparing the way for us to plan for future flood events,” Holderness maintained.
The Saskatchewan Alliance for Water Sustainability group continues to protest the plans and is holding a water ceremony next week.