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9th July 2015
Okotoks: More water will allow for 40 to 50 homes built
Tuesday, Jul 07, 2015 03:33 pm
By: Darlene Casten

The Town of Okotoks has added purchased a water license that will allow for the construction of approximately 50 new homes or provide water for new commercial or business development.

The town paid $64,000 for an irrigation license that will provide Okotoks with 10,854,640 litres of water.

In this case the Town was approached by a license owner and a deal was struck directly with the Town. As a result all of the water will be put into the Town’s water supply pool. When developers find water licenses for the Town to purchase they receive 60 per cent of the water supply and the Town puts 40 per cent into their water supply for future development.

All water license costs are paid back to the Town by developers in water license levies when they purchase new land.

The newest water license, at four to six homes per acre, will supply approximately 40 to 50 more homes with water from the new license said Okotoks municipal manager Rick Quail. That is an entire phase in a typical development, he said.

Several Okotoks communities, like Drake Landing and the Air Ranch have phases that still need to be developed.

The water could also provide water to business park or commercial development.

Quail was unsure who was next on the Town’s priority list to proceed with construction and Okotoks community planner Steve Hanhart is away on vacation.

“It is a first come first serve basis,” Quail said. “It will go to the next person comes along with a subdivision application.”

Quail added that there is a priority order and developments with an area structure plan are higher priority.

However, what is certain is that attaining a new license will allow for continued growth and development in the Town, which is currently limited by the Town’s water supply.

When the Province enacted a moratorium on water licenses in the South Saskatchewan River Basin in 2006, the Town of Okotoks had very little water supply left with their existing water licenses. Since then the Town has been purchasing water licences to increase their water supply and allow development to continue in Okotoks.

The largest acquisition was a $1 million dollar license purchased from Legacy Oil.

This most recent water license purchase is the second water license the Town has aquired this year.

Quail said they have budgeted $300,000 for water license acquisitions this year.

The Town and United Communities are currently working on a $300,000 water license transfer that would allow development at the D’arcy Ranch and Wedderburn lands on Okotoks’s North end. Quail said if more money is needed for water licenses administration will ask Town council to add funds to the budget to pay for them.

While the Town is hoping to build a $31.5 million water pipeline to Calgary by 2018, but has received no provincial funding for the project.

“It is in a bit of a pause right now as the new government gets organized and sets their capital budget priorities” Quail said.

In the meantime, the Town continues to seek out more water licenses from local water license holders, he said.