The Grand Forks Irrigation District is one of the three irrigation districts outside of the city boundaries and recently had their annual general meeting.
Murray Knox, Grand Forks Irrigation District operator and manager, says the growth of the district is similar to previous years and is fairly predictable.
The district provides drinking water to 300 homes and irrigation to about 566 hectares of farmland. “It goes back to the 1920s,” Knox says. “Most were created many years ago to supply irrigation to the farmers, but have been expanded to provide drinking water.”
The irrigation district is owned by the farmers, and is classified as an improvement district by the province and includes some rural fire districts as well.
“The service they provide is fire protection,” he says.
“The service we provide is water. There’s some areas where they provide street lighting, not around here, but that’s another example of an improvement district.”
Knox says he doesn’t have concerns about the updated Water Act, saying that it can be interpreted in many ways and is just modernizing the old regulations.
The big change is regulation of groundwater, which will require those wanting to dig a well to get a license. The act currently requires a license to draw surface water but not for ground water.
“They (the province) want to have more regulations and licensing for groundwater, which presently doesn’t exist so they want to change the Water Act to include groundwater,” he says.
The feedback period of the Water Act was prolonged until March 21.