The City of Swift Current seems satisfied after having requested the Water Security Agency (WSA) to present at last night's city council meeting.

The WSA made the presentation in order to clarify points on the new irrigation project being proposed for Reid Lake. This presentation answered some questions the City held, and demonstrated, clearly, what the safe levels of operation would be going forward.

For Swift Current Mayor, Al Bridal, this presentation waylaid many concerns that were brought before him by members of the general public.

"If I received one email, I was like to have received a dozen," said Bridal.  "I had like to receive that many phone calls, with people upset. I wanted WSA to come and present their facts as they knew them so people could hear. I know they're going to have quite a few other stakeholder meetings."

The project there would reserve an additional 4,000 acre-feet of water from the reservoir for irrigation in a seven-kilometre radius around the lake.

The idea is that up to 100 or so farms could benefit from having access to water in dryer conditions. This would stimulate the reliable output of those farms, providing economic support by ensuring certain outputs. Bridal compared this benefit with the likes of what Lethbridge enjoys.

"I would like to see jobs," said Bridal. "The only way we're going to get jobs around the southwest right now, which we have a certain amount of oil and gas, but we all know where that's going, and so agriculture will be the way of the future. When I look at Lethbridge, which used to be the same size as us 70 years ago, I believe, and now Lethbridge is 112-113,000 people and we're under 17,000, and it's because of the irrigation."

Concerns that Bridal had been presented by those in the area of Swift Current included the idea that this additional strain on Reid Lake could prove harmful to the existing wildlife, and to the recreational useability of the lake by those that live/vacation there.

The WSA assured that the hard cut of the available water in the irrigation project was firm. If it ever got to the point where they reached the limit, there was zero doubt that they would enforce a shutdown of the pivots.

That cut-off point is 803.72 metres. This enables them to first pull the 4,000 acre-feet, but no more. Even if the summer is dry enough to have used that reserve amount by the end of June, the water level of the lake would only go down by one foot at most due to the irrigation.

Reid Lake itself currently rests at a total capacity of 85,300 acre-feet when full. The WSA assures that even at full irrigation allocation, there will be no impact on existing wildlife and recreation users. They have determined the cut-off point to ensure that the impact of irrigation use will not interfere with either of those aspects.

"[The WSA] need to go present to these other user groups and explain to them so the user groups can ask the questions they're concerned about," said Bridal. "We had our questions, but from the cabins association's questions can be totally different than what the City is asking. I believe the WSA presented it very well to the City of Swift Current and we were quite confident that our water source is secure for the future."

For now, additional consultation with the WSA and members of the public will continue. The WSA will be back in Swift Current this Thursday, where more will be discussed and revealed.

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