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No planned solution for Quill Lakes flooding
Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 5:52PM CST
The issue of the flooding Quill Lakes came up in question period on Monday when the NDP said the Saskatchewan government was rushing the project.
"Last month, a project to divert water from the Quill Lakes got a green light,” said NDP MLA Cathy Sproule. “They're rushing ahead saying no environmental impact study is necessary."
Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said the government hasn’t conducted an environmental impact study because they don’t have a plan in place yet.
"Hydrological analysis, hydraulic modeling, water quality analysis, water quality, land control and public consultation,” said Duncan.
“That all needs to continue and needs to be provided to the proponent before approval is ever given."
The Quill Lakes are made up of Big Quill, Little Quill and Mud Lake and have been flooding their banks since 2005. The lakes don't have a natural drainage system and they're also high in salinity, which could cause issues for ecosystems downstream. In the past, the Saskatchewan Government has proposed an idea of diverting runoff water from entering the lakes and moving it into Last Mountain Lake.
The Environment Minister said there are 12 conditions attached to a future project to find a solution.
"We'll have to make decisions based on a project proposal that comes forward that has to satisfy a number of questions and, most importantly, ensure that the science is sound before we'd ever make a decision like this," said Duncan.
The NDP wants to see more public consultation before a plan is made.
"That's the whole purpose of an environmental impact is to make sure the public has the information they need in order to go forward with the determination," said Sproule.
Fred Clipsham, chairperson of the Wascana Upper Qu'appelle Stewardship Association, also would like to see public consolation before a plan is finalized because he says if the water is diverted, there could be serious consequences to other ecosystems.
“How much is too much? We don’t know those answers and in fairness the public should be asking those questions and should be getting those answers," said Clipsham.
Clipsham would also like to see a solution soon, because the Quill Lakes flooding will keep devastating land in the area until something is done.
"There's a full bath tub here, and any extra precipitation and then the Quill Lakes are going to spill across Highway 6,” said Clipsham.
“Then, it's going to spill across the Last Mountain Lake and it's going to bring a whole bunch of salty water."