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AWA response letter on the Proposed Terms of Reference Environmental Impact Assessment Report for Eastern Irrigation District’s Proposed Snake Lake Reservoir Expansion Project

December 5, 2023

The proposed expansion of the Snake Lake Reservoir is one of a number of projects proposed to expand and improve the efficiency of irrigation in Alberta. It involves expanding the current reservoir into an area of land that is primarily native grassland, in order to increase irrigation capacity. The project would more than triple the water storage capacity of the current reservoir.

AWA has several concerns with the project description and proposed terms of reference. Our main concerns are:

  • Insufficient consideration of potential impacts, avoidance and conservation in native grasslands;
  • Insufficient consideration for effect on Alberta’s ability to maintain river health, and meet water conservation objectives (WCOs) or in-stream flow needs (IFNs);
  • Lack of recognition for project exacerbating climate change and water scarcity in the region;
  • Minimal recognition for the total cumulative effects of development, tolerance of landscape and watershed for reservoir expansion, and the effects of expanding irrigated acres; and
  • Lack of thorough investigation for all socio-economic influences.

The full letter can be found here.

The Proposed Terms of Reference were released October 24, and the public engagement period closes December 8.

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