Monday, May 29, 2006

Some answers on bad water.

Further investigation has produced some enlightenment.

The Alberta Water act prior to 1999 allowed any number of people to take what ever they wanted for water to the extent of 275,000 gal per year. That was a single dwelling, home's entitlement. The enforcement of this is with the municipality or county under the municipal act. This water could be taken from any place by any means available.

The water act changed in 1999 to more critically address the development of acreages, feedlots and the like. (No one was thinking coal bed methane apparently).

Unchanged; you can be on one supply and one supply only. If you have a cystern, no well. Likewise if you are on some elses allotment (municpal water) no well is allowed.

Now, if a development has 4 houses on it, each house has an entitlement of 275.000 gallons per year. If a 5th house is built, the people have to put in a water survey analysis. This analysis trick can cost 15,000 dollars very easily. It probably has much to do with the size of subdivisions. Beware of a 4 house setup with promise of more in the future.

Water uses are given by 3 entities. The Alberta Environment, Alberta Agriculture and the Energy Utilities Board. Theministers hold the wild card to okay what ever they want, for what ever reason. (What's new?)

In water rights it is first in time, first in line. The single house has first call, first use of the water holding a higher rank than any other industry regardless of time. If any development comes into the system that messes up the homes' water supply then, the home will have recourse to the Government depending on who is responsible for letting the permit.

In the case of the Edmonton Journal story and as will be the case with other coal bed methane problems, the damaged party will have to go to the EUB with their complaint and, good luck with that!

The EUB is taking the position that some gas and precipitated mineral will always be in the ground water taken from above coal beds. Also someone in this mix has determined that if the complaint is not on your own land you don’t have a complaint!

There is no central, one call number to look into your problem.

Like so many other things, this appears to be a shell game to cover squeaking wheels and keep the ball in the air indefinitely.

Good luck with that!

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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