Skip to content

EDITORIAL: Water woes finally coming to an end

A $16-million grant from Province is great news because it means Okotoks and Foothills County will get long-awaited supplemental water source.
NEWS-Water Announcement BWC 8056 web
Minister of Transportation Prasad Panda speaks at an announcement of funding from the Province for the Foothills Okotoks Regional Water Project on July 20. The $16M Water for Life Grant funding will go toward a water pipeline from the Bow River to supply both Foothills County and Okotoks with a secure source of water.

The worry over water will soon be a thing of the past in these parts.  

An announcement last week that the Province is providing a $16-million grant to the Foothills Okotoks Regional Water Project means a long-awaited solution to this area’s water woes is at hand. It will be three years before we see water from the Bow River start to flow, but after a more than two-decade search for a supplemental source, it’s hard to look at this as anything but fantastic news. 

The politicians and staff at both the Town and County deserve recognition for not only coming up with a long-term solution, but also marshaling it through a bureaucratic web, to the point where tenders can soon go out and infrastructure construction can begin. 

A lack of water can be crippling for an area’s economy, and while we certainly weren’t at that point yet, there’s no doubt the uncertainty surrounding that most precious of natural resources in this region gave pause to decision makers in both the public and private sectors. Without a guarantee of sufficient water, it was difficult to plan for the future. 

That’s why last week’s announcement, which was so long in the making, will go down as a monumental day in the history of this region, one that addresses an issue that has plagued this area for many years. 

There will undoubtedly be worries about what an increased water supply will mean in terms of potential development and what that growth could do to the small-town charm of Okotoks, but those are decisions for another day. That’s not to minimize those concerns, because they're valid to be sure, particularly given the new water source could supply an additional 20,000 homes, but last Wednesday was about finally resolving a long overdue issue. 

Okotoks and Foothills County will be getting a secure, resilient water supply that will take us into the future. That is news we should all celebrate.