Message from the Chairman
It looks like 2022 is shaping up to be another challenging year as far as water is concerned. While it’s nice to have an
easy winter, we really needed additional moisture, which we failed to get this last winter. Unless something changes,
all signs are pointing towards another drought year.
Due to the dry conditions, it doesn’t look like the Letter-of-Intent will be working for our irrigators again this year. The
International Joint Committee (IJC), has announced that they will probably not incur a deficit once again, so unless
we can get some major moisture event in the next while, our irrigation water will have to turn off again, probably
sometime in July.
The IJC has decided to undertake another study. This one is a four-year study to look into the operations on the Milk
River and will be looking at both structural and non-structural solutions. If this study is anything like the last ones, it
will take a way longer. Our proposed dam on the main stem of the Milk River might still have a little breathing room,
but that will be a long way off.
There have been some other off-stream storage sites that have been identified. One or more of these sites could be
developed in order to ensure water reliability for our Southern Alberta Watershed in the near term. There may be
some announcements in the near future.
On the other hand, it’s sure nice to see everything opening up again. We can once again walk into a bank without a
mask on (that just felt too weird, didn’t it?) or grocery store and see everybody’s faces once again. It’s been a long
couple of years wearing masks and attending Zoom meetings.
We’ve had several programs on the go this last while which will be paramount to how we manage our watershed into
the future. First is the Milk River Water Contingency Plan for Water Shortage Periods. We wanted to look at how we
handled the lack of water from the failure of the Diversion Drop Structures in 2020, see what we learned and what we
could do better. This will we a work in progress, which can be used as a guide in the future when other major water
shortage events occur.
Our Producers-Leading-the-Way project has been a great success. We had about 25% of the producers fill out a
questionnaire or attend one of five Open House meetings. Kristine Dahl along with our staff did a fantastic job and
we learned a lot about how our producers view the watershed and how we can better support them in the future.
I’d also like to welcome Allison Choquette as our new Wildlife & Outreach Technician. She will be undertaking
studies to better understand the Little Brown Myotis Bat among others in our area. She may be coming around with
bat boxes and potentially bat condos to a location near you. Please give her a big Southern Alberta welcome when
you see her.
As always, I couldn’t do anything without Tim Romanow and Mary Lupwayi who make sure everything keep rolling
Good Wishes and Good Health.
John A. Ross
Chairman, Milk River Watershed Council Canada