Saskatchewan to tap farm leaders for drainage board


Representatives from four Saskatchewan farmer organizations will sit on a new provincial advisory board on farm drainage policy.

The provincial government on Tuesday announced the creation of two advisory boards: a policy development board and technical review board.

Specific members haven’t yet been named to either board, but the province said the policy advisory board will include members from Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), the Western Canadian Wheat Growers, the Saskatchewan Farm Stewardship Association and the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commissions (SaskCanola).

The policy board will also include members from the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Conservation and Development Association and Ducks Unlimited Canada, the province said.

The technical review board, meanwhile, is to be made up of experts with backgrounds in water management, engineering and hydrology, the province said.

If a drainage project’s “proponent” believes a technical error has occurred, the province said, he/she/they can provide information to the technical board and ask for a review.

“For example, if there is a question on the adequacy of an outlet, this board would review it and provide technical advice.”

The creation of the two advisory boards comes as the provincial Water Security Agency Amendment Act, introduced in November, passes third reading in the legislature, the government said Tuesday.

The amendments lay out a new process to deal with unauthorized drainage on Saskatchewan farmland.

“Our government’s goal is to create responsibly-managed agricultural drainage networks focused on controlling and organizing water management in the province,” Scott Moe, the provincial minister for the WSA, said in a release Tuesday.

“This will ensure mitigation of impacts to downstream landowners while continuing to provide benefits to producers. The advisory boards will provide input and advice on agricultural water management policies as we move forward with the strategy.”

The WSA is now working with “hundreds” of Saskatchewan landowners on organized drainage projects covering over 160,000 acres, the province said. –– Network

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