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Irrigation harvests new fee

A proposed spray irrigation agreement between the City of Armstrong and close to a dozen farmers contains a new user fee.

The city provides reclaimed wastewater to lands for spray irrigation purposes, while the farmer agrees to accept the wastewater and use it on their land.

The proposed five-year deal calls for the implementation of a $0.01/m3 charge for the water itself.

“The total amount projected to be raised with the fee is in the neighbourhood of $6,600,” said Coun. Kelly Rowe, chairperson of the city’s public works committee. “The costs to run this section of service range between $37,000 and $42,500, including groundwater and soil testing costs of $14,180 in 2012.”

In a report to council, administrator Patti Ferguson explained that farmers now pay for hydro costs to pump and they have to have their own equipment.

The service is provided by the city and such agreements have changed over the years.

“The benefits to the community and the farmers are compounded in the benefits to the environment of returning the reclaimed water back to crop production instead of putting it into streams and lakes,” said Ferguson.

The proposed draft, unanimously accepted by council, was reviewed with the farmers who have agreements with the city. Their feedback was included in the report.

 

Farmers whose agreements are not being renewed will be asked by the city to keep their lands and allotments in the database, and to include them in future planning.

 

 

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