Today the Alberta government announced that Budget 2015 will invest $545 million over five years towards water infrastructure in municipalities across Alberta. Over five years, Water for Life funding will increase by $100 million and the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership will increase by $70 million.
“I am very proud that our government developed a budget that strongly invests in municipalities across Alberta,” said Brian Mason, Minister of Transportation.
“We strongly believe that reliable access to high quality drinking water and wastewater treatment systems is crucial to building strong, healthy communities and rural economies. We want to ensure municipalities have the water infrastructure they need to support families and businesses while growing sustainably,” he said.
The Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership and the Alberta Water for Life program provide funds to municipalities with populations of less than 45,000 to help in the construction of municipal water supply and treatment, and wastewater treatment and disposal facilities. Funding is provided as a percentage of eligible approved project costs.
The programs target funding to ensure Albertans in smaller and rural communities have access to safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible water and wastewater systems. The program encourages water conservation and consumption-based rate structures to ensure that growth is sustainable.
“Quality water and wastewater infrastructure is critical for community and industrial development as well as the safety of Albertans,” said Al Kemmere, President of Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties. “Due to their large geographic areas, building and maintaining water and wastewater infrastructure in rural municipalities is technically challenging and expensive. The AAMDC is pleased that the Government of Alberta is providing increased water and wastewater infrastructure funding, which will support the growth and sustainability of rural and small urban communities throughout Alberta,” he said.
The funding commitments represent a 45 per cent increase compared to the previously proposed March budget.