November 29, 2016 6:30 pm
Updated: November 30, 2016 7:43 am

Saskatchewan streamlining agricultural drainage approval process

Amendments to The Water Security Agency Act have been introduced to change how agricultural drainage complaints are handled in Saskatchewan.

File / Global News

The provincial government is changing how agricultural drainage complaints are handled in Saskatchewan.

On Tuesday, the minister responsible for the Water Security Agency (WSA), Scott Moe, introduced the amendments.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan close to new regulations on agriculture draining

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The legislative changes will support new regulations announced last year. The new process aims to ensure drainage projects can be permitted when they have downstream landowner permission to drain into an adequate outlet.

“With these changes, the process will be further streamlined which will mean a quicker resolution of requests for assistance on drainage issues for producers,” Moe said.

“It encourages producer co-operation through the formation of watershed associations and allows for producer-led projects.”

The Agricultural Water Management Strategy provides producers and municipalities with the framework to control and organize their drainage projects through the usage of conservation and development area authorities or watershed associations.

The previous complaint process could take up to two years before any resolution took place. WSA estimates requests could be completed within 90 days, under the legislation.

READ MORE: Water diversion could ease flooding

During consultations on the regulations released in 2015 as part of the Agricultural Water Management Strategy, stakeholder groups expressed support for increased fines.

New fines imposed under The Water Security Agency Act would change from a maximum of $10,000 per day to $1 million per day. The fine would be weighted on the severity of the situation by the courts.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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