Last week, the Minister responsible for Saskatchewan’s Water Security Agency (WSA), Dustin Duncan, announced a new long-term flood mitigation program for provincial communities. The Flood Damage Reduction Program (FDRP) is intended to be a proactive and preventative mechanism to help communities implement with long-term flood mitigation projects.
“Since the start of WSA’s Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program in 2011, over 3,400 Saskatchewan clients have accessed $74 million to design and construct both temporary and permanent flood works,” Duncan said. “Shifting away from an emergency flood mitigation program to a permanent program allows communities to undertake long-term flood mitigation, reducing the risk of flooding in future years.”
Since 2011, each spring WSA has launched an emergency flood mitigation program for to protect and support Saskatchewan communities dealing with flood. Starting this month, the emergency program will now transition to the FDRP, removing the emergency focus and looking more towards long-term projects.
“The WSA is hoping to encourage municipalities to be more proactive with preventative work to protect flooding, as opposed to being reactive (once a situation occurs) as this has proven to yield both better outcomes for a community and to be a much greater cost-benefit than more temporary measures,” said Ron Podbielski, manager, Strategic Issues and Communications, WSA to Water Canada.
The new program will provide $1.5 million in 2018 and will accept proposals from communities in the following four categories:
- Structural projects, where the municipality acts as the proponent for construction of permanent flood works;
- Mitigation planning, where municipalities undertake emergency planning or potential flood damage prevention construction design;
- Flood plain mapping projects; and
- Hydrologic and/or hydraulic investigations to develop risk assessments.
The program will cover eligible costs incurred up to March 31st, 2019. Once a municipality applies to the program, the proponent must have prior WSA approval and must secure any applicable regulatory requirements to undertake work.
“WSA remains committed to providing technical advice, support and programming assistance to communities—that will not change. What has changed is that the focus of this year’s program… will now be on more permanent flood reductions measures, such as municipalities undertaking risk assessment and mitigation planning or acquiring flood plain mapping products,” said Podbielski.
Eligible projects will be cost-shared on a 50-50 basis between the WSA and the proponent. Applications will be accepted until October 30th, 2018. Applications can be made through WSA regional offices. More program details can be found on WSA’s website.