Taber, Alta. breaks ground on constructed wetlands to aid with flood mitigation

Click to play video: 'Town of Taber starts construction on new wetlands' Town of Taber starts construction on new wetlands
WATCH: After years of discussions, the Town of Taber in southern Alberta has garnered federal and provincial funding to construct a new wetlands project. Eloise Therien has more on what benefits it will bring to the community. – Apr 27, 2022

A new constructed wetlands project in the eastern part of Taber, Alta., is hoping to prevent future flood damage and assist the local irrigation district.

In March of 2018, a state of emergency was declared in the Municipal District of Taber and the Town of Taber due to overland flooding caused by rapid snow melt.

Several homes were evacuated and the damage was costly.

“In the M.D. of Taber they suffered a loss of roughly $2 million as a result of that overland flooding,” said the town’s mayor Andrew Prokop.

Read more: Overland flood alert issued for M.D. of Taber

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On Wednesday, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Taber East Constructed Wetlands project, adjacent to the reservoir.

Along with $3.2 million from the Alberta Community Resilience Program and $2.9 million from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program, Prokop said the town is supplying around $750,000 to make the project happen.

The need for wetlands in this location was identified in 2017 through the town’s Storm Water Management Plan, and funding was garnered in 2020.

The total cost is more than $7.4 million.

“This kind of a project definitely helps mitigate those types of events that are unforeseen and generally can’t be planned for,” Prokop said.

Click to play video: 'Taking care of our lakes, rivers, and wetlands' Taking care of our lakes, rivers, and wetlands
Taking care of our lakes, rivers, and wetlands – Mar 22, 2022

Not only will it capture the storm water, but the wetlands will help improve runoff quality for use by the Taber Irrigation District.

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“We’ll be able to take that storm water and then filter it through basically a natural filtration system so that the quality of the water entering our works is of a much higher quality,” explained district manager David Westwood.

“A high quality of water is critical to the health and quality of crop in the Taber area.”

The project is set to be completed in late 2023, with recreational elements for the community added in the future.

-With files from Global News’ Tom Roulston & Joe Scarpelli

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