Alberta announces $150 million for water infrastructure grants

Mike Edwards   

News drinking water

The Alberta Municipal/Wastewater Partnership has announced close to $150 million for 55 water and wastewater improvement projects. Of the total amount, $137 million has been allocated for 54 projects, with $13 million for the First Nations Water Tie-in Program to support a water tie-in program for the Ermineskin Cree Nation to the Ponoka regional water pipeline.

Alberta Municipal/Wastewater Partnership grants support improvements to water supply and treatment facilities, and upgrades to wastewater services, including lagoons, berms and sewage treatment.

First Nations funding supports connections to new and existing regional water systems, providing clean drinking water to First Nations communities.

Partnership funding is provided to cities (under 45,000 population), towns, villages, summer villages, regional commissions and eligible hamlets within rural municipalities for the construction of high-priority water supply and treatment and wastewater treatment and disposal facilities. Water distribution and/or sewage collection systems are not eligible for assistance.

Funding is provided as a percentage of eligible approved project costs. For those municipalities under 1,000 population, projects are cost-shared on a 75 percent Government/25 percent municipality basis. For communities over 1,000 population (to a maximum of 45,000 population), grant percentage ratios are calculated by a formula. The percentage ratio declines as the population increases.

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. Regional Water Systems receive funding under Water for Life.

The program also encourages water conservation and consumption-based rate structures. Under this initiative, municipalities could be subject to a 10 percent reduction in grants if they have no metering in place and the average annual consumption exceeds the norm for the area. This applies to both water and wastewater projects.

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