Test Special Areas requests for water Test

Rural Issues

Tools

Special Areas requests for water

Test
Jun 22, 2005 | 11:09 1 For any of you that are living near the Red Deer River or it's tributaries, I would encourage you to get out to the Special Areas meetings being held across the area. Special Areas has applied for permitting to take 76.5 billion litres of water out of the Red Deer River annually. People really do need to be informed about this so that feedback can be given.

They want to use some of the water for irrigation and I am going to the meeting in Red Deer tonight at 7:00 at the Black Knight Inn to find out what crops they want to grow with this irrigation. Why would they want to grow more crops that they cannot get the costs of production on now? That would make for some very expensive crop indeed.

This proposal has been in the works for a number of years and people need to be aware of it. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 05:27 2 When you see the tremendous flows in the Red Deer river these past weeks I struggle to see why anyone would be concerned about diverting a very small fraction of that water to Special Areas to aid in the economic survival of that area of the province.

Had the proper water works been in place to capture those excessive river flows, not only would we have been providing a valuable renewable resource for dryer areas of the province but we could have reduced flooding downstream.

Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't four people die as a result of the recent floods? All that water just wasted when it could have serving as an economic driver of the rural areas of the province off of the QE2 corridor. We have to find ways that all parts of the province can share in the Alberta advantage, not just those who are fortunate enough to live between Calgary and Edmonton. Irrigation certainly is one those ways. If I had a concern it was the project should be expanded to double the amount of irrigation as there then could be even more benefit. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 08:14 3 ...well said farmers_son... Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 08:40 4 With the big cash coming in from the gas industry and the debt supposedly gone in alberta, I agree that now would be the time to start a few mega-projects to start controlling the water that does fall at times in this province. What vision there was many years ago to set up dams and canals. Look at the lucky individuals who have benefited from having irrigation rights. A few more could be so lucky!

I suppose it would be tough to convince people west of the #2 to allow some dams to be set up on $5000/acre land (or more) Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 08:48 5 The diversion of water from the Red Deer if it takes place will have require an environmental impact assessment, and likely a hearing in front of the NRCB.
My one comment is that the eastern portion of Alberta is falling by the wayside as far as development goes due to a lack of water, the population is declining etc. Water can work wonders and if sharing some of it at no real negative effect to other Albertans can help to sustain a large area of the province, I say what is the problem ? Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 10:36 6 I'm not saying it is wrong nor that we shouldn't do it. In order to make a decision, people need to be informed. Yes, this year we have tremendous water volume, but that has not been the case for the past several years. Also, had we not had all of this record rainfall, we would have been as low or lower in volume than in the previous years.

I would ask you to consider these questions, which were brought up in discussions at the meeting last night.

From a social perspective, is it the lack of water that is taking people away from these areas? Is it the reason that kids are leaving the farm, or is it because there is relatively little money to be made in farming. Look at WoolyBear's post regarding the OECD evaluations in the next 10 years. Does it make economic sense to pay to irrigate some 20,000 acres (which land amounts could be owned by several people individually out there) for crops that producers are not able to make money on already? Now, if they were going to grow specialty crops with the irrigation, then that would be another kettle of fish entirely.

It is going to reap an economic benefit of 70 cents for every dollar spent. That means that the shortfall in return is going to have to come from somewhere and likely the taxpayers pocket. Smart growth principles tell you that if it is going to cost more to maintain the infrastructure than what will be generated, then perhaps you shouldn't undertake it. Yes, the province is awash in money now, but will that always be the case?

The system is going to cost $3.1 million per year to operate with no clear indication of where the operating money is going to come from - at least not that I have seen yet.

What will this do for future demands on the river and the water it carries? We also have proposed pipelines in the works for areas to the north and to the south of us. How much can we allocate on top of having to live up to the allocation agreements that 50% of the flow must go to the South Saskatchewan to go to other provinces?

Transporation is another issue. People want to be near transportation corridors to keep costs down. That is one significant factor in the Peace not being developed any more than it has been.

What about stocking rates for livestock? It seems to me that the figure is 12 cows per section out there - that isn't likely going to change. If you develop confined feeding operations, dairies, hog barns etc., then the demands for water really increase. Given the opposition in recent years to CFO's, particularly hog operations, is that even feasible for these areas?

I would encourage you to read "Water" by Marq de Villiers as it is a real eye opener to global water. Sandra Postel also has some very thought provoking books out - Rivers for Life, Last Oasis (water scarcity) and Pillars of Sand (which is about the inability to sustain irrigation).

Now, if we stopped the practice of injecting water into oil and gas wells, then that would free up a great deal of water that would remain in the hydrological cycle. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 11:30 7 One or two other points to ponder. How long will it take to reap the economic benefit? We will see that benefit if all goes according to plan and to the models, which always work in theory. There are two scenarios that could evolve. The first being the best scenario and that would be that it would become attractive for people to move there. That in and of itself could create long-term challenges in that they would once again find themselves looking for water - what happens then? The other scenario would be at the other end of the spectrum and that would be that even with water the area does not develop significantly in the foreseeable future. How then does it pay for itself or reap any real benefit?

Is the situation being faced out there really significantly different that the situation being faced by most rural areas? Agriculture development is not positively correlated with rural development. As fewer farmers own more of the available land in an area, rural development often declines. How many producers in the so-called have areas of the highway II corridor are encouraging their kids to stay on the land? How many young people are staying in rural areas?

I would ask how many of you would move to that area if there were water aplenty? Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 11:39 8 All the questions you have referred to would have to be answered as part of the water diversion process.

As far as who would relocate to the areas in question, it would depend on what industry could benefit from locating there. Given the cost, availablilty and pressure on land uses in the corridor, I would suspect that some value added industry could locate in the east central portion of the province if water was available. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 11:41 9 Linda, I am sure that many of us asked the same questions with regard to the cost of irrigating a huge portion of the province. After touring several municipalities in the south, I became informed and realized that without irrigation many areas of our province would be a virtual wasteland, likely the same can be said for east cenral AB if they can't access more water. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 12:39 10 I would suggest that anyone interested in learning more about this proposal can log onto:

www.specialareas.ab.ca and check out the entire project. It is very informative and detailed. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 12:40 11 The irrigation districts are continually asking for more water - when does enough become enough? From what I can see from having driven around in the southern part of the province, we do not use the most efficient forms of irrigation that are available. Drip irrigation systems are far more efficient and make better use of the water than the current systems we use now where some of the water is lost to evaporation before it ever hits the ground. Granted, it isn't taken out of the hydrological cycle, but it doesn't meet it's intended use either.

It is an inescapable fact that money attracts money which is the reason why the cities just keep getting bigger and more people move to them.

What would make me happier about the situation is if the area had some value-added industries lined up so that when the water is available it can be put to use straight away. Right now, it is all pretty much speculation and best estimates.

From a societal perspective, it isn't the lack of water that is the problem for the more rural areas of the province. I will use the Peace again as an example. There is generally more than enough water in the peace region. What is stopping people from moving up there? Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 18:03 12 Money attracts money which is why the cities just keep getting bigger

I might offer the thought that one reason cities keep getting bigger is that the cities receive an unfair transfer of taxation dollars generated from the primary resource industries such as agriculture which are always located in the hinterlands but do not have the population base to demand that government reinvest in the countryside.
See: http://www.rural.gov.ab.ca/ralo_report.pdf

Your example of the Peace... Sporadic, unpredictable and uneven amounts of rainfall does not equal irrigation. Irrigation is a guaranteed source of water that allows the producer to maximize his/her production instead of managing for drought as is the case in the Special Areas at present. I would expect to see value adding occur in the Special Areas as a result of this initiative, feedlots and hog barns would spring up as soon as the water was available. Most of the benefit from the water diversion would be as a direct result of access to livestock water, the actual acres that would benefit from irrigation would be less. Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 18:24 13 I keep asking myself why we want the land to do something it was never intended to do? We try to raise annual crops on marginal land and wonder why the bounty isn't there. We try to grow crops on land that is better suited to grass growth, yet we still persist in trying to grow crops. And the biggest wonderment o all is why we want to grow more of what we can't already sell at a price that will put some decent money in a producer's pockets.

The situation that is happening in the Special Areas - aside from the water - is not unique. People moving away, leaving farming etc. is happening in just about every rural area that there is, regardless of whether there is water or not. Does that mean that all rural areas will be given the cash injection to get them whatever they need in order to survive and/or grow? Don't get me wrong, I am all for rural revitalization.

The other thing that we haven't even given much consideration to is what cumulative effect will all this drilling activity have on the underground formations? We have some idea, but we certainly have no concrete evidence or body of knowledge with respect to the flurry of drilling activity and how it will cumulatively affect our groundwater supplies. I look at all the proposed activity within my own county and shudder to think of where it will all end up, especially now that oil has hit $60/bbl.

All of the things that we are doing cannot be looked at in isolation. If you talk to any of the irrigation managers down south, they never have enough water and are always looking for more and god forbid you talk about not being able to meet their allocations.

The solutions also cannot be looked at in isolation. One needs to look at the greater good in all of this. Speculating that the value-added industries will move out there because there is water is just that - speculation. You have people that want activities for their kids. Even in my own little community the parents often go outside of the community for the activities their kids participate in because they just aren't here or in the alternative, aren't up to the parents expectations of where their kids are at or their potential.

How many people have moved to the south because of irrigation? How many industries went there? 60% of the industries in the Lethbridge area are owned by American companies and are the goliaths that many are fighting against.

Should we share our resources with others who don't have them - yes. How we do that and how much we do that is something else. I'm curious, how many of you would be as willing to share if the water were coming out of your basin? It's always easier to spend someone else's "money".

I forget who said it but the quote goes something like, "...in the past, wars were fought for many reasons, in the future, wars will be fought over water." Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2005 | 21:20 14 I share many of your concerns on this topic Cakadu. You are right that we should ponder the value of the crops that will be grown under these new irrigation projects. I hope it's not barley silage for yet more feedlots given the predicament of the beef sector. It's notable that most in favour are quoting all the amounts of water that are currently flooding southern Alberta - what about the dry years in the Oldman watershed? the irrigation places that had their allocations cut and saw their crops wither in the recent drought years even with their expensive irrigation. We need to look at water use on a broader basis before deciding we have enough for this project.
To maintain agriculture in the drier areas we need more than water, we need a viable return for their produce.

Maybe if they were to grow the best quality grassfed, longhorn beef in North America and sell it direct to US consumers at $5lb hanging weight they could make more money than growing barley, feedlot silage or confinement hogs once all the fertiliser, fuel, spray, machinery,transport, manure hauling and irrigation costs are paid?
Bear in mind that we have only a finite supply of oil and severe limitations on water availability which make the high tech farming route environmentally unsustainable. Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 05:17 15 I will admit I haven't got out to any meetings on this proposed water diversion, so might not be up on all the facts and figures, however I do believe the main idea was not so much irrigation but water for livestock operations, homes and industry?
In my opinion this is about the best idea I've heard in a long time for many reasons. The establishment of a viable intensive livestock industry away from the populated areas is a good thing. Special areas has lots of open spaces and they are eager to have these operations, the corrider doesn't want anymore CFOs...looks like the perfect solution to me!
The mayor of Red Deer put it very well I thought? He said he really doesn't care where the water goes after Red Deer has taken what it needs!
The concept of at least one large dam and a series of created wet lands into Stettler county is a very good idea. A pipeline to serve the needs of special areas is then very feasable?
Consider the spin off benifits of a large reservoir on the eastern boundary of Red Deer County? Consider the economic activity that will be generated? As much as people bemoan the loss of their rural livestyle around Glennifer Lake the reality is the infrastructure has been vastly improved to service the Lake developement and their own net worth has risen sharply!
Quite simply their property is worth more today than it would have been if the dam wasn't there?
The quality of the water below the dam is much better than it was before the dam was built. That is just a fact.
I'm old enough to remember how it was before the dam was built. Practically every year Red Deer got a big flood in the spring and the river got very low in the fall. Now, with the dam, the water is fairly consistant? Without a doubt the dam helped a lot in the recent flood.
Personally I would much rather see my various governments spend my tax money on something like this than blowing it on such wonderful things as adscam, gun registry, Canadian Wheat Board, free give aways to brutal dictators, making us all speak French! And I would much rather see the water go to some needy farmers out east than poured down an old oil well so they can water it out before its time! Of course I doubt those "needy farmers" are slipping a few bucks to the Klein Tories! Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 05:58 16 Thanks for your comments Cowman!Maybe there should be a thread on just what is a Klein Tory! Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 08:30 17 ...from what I understand the plan would be to use the Berry creek and the Sounding creek as a natural canals...I haven't been there for a while but alot of people on the east side of province use the lake at Sherness mine for rec purposes...I see it as a major positive for farmers and the towns out that way...but I could be a little bias I lived out there for eighteen years... Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 08:34 18 Linda, in fact irrigation districts have cut back allottments to numerous producers over the past few years. Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 18:24 19 cowman, if you think that anyone is going to be able to dictate that the Confined Feeding Industry is going to have to locate in a defined area of the province then you obviously don't know just how strong their lobby group is.
Municipalities are having a difficult time defining specified zoning for CFO's, much less the Province trying it.

Not trying to put words in your mouth but is it your view that if a family wished to construct a feedlot, hogbarn, dairy or poultry operation they would be advised that it must locate in Special Areas or some such place? What are you going to tell the colonys that are continually expanding their feeding operations, and new colonys that are locating in various municipalities.
Might be fun to hear the reaction when they were told they had to relocate to a specified area !!!

Equipment dealers would be on the rampage if all the cfo customers were in one location vs having them spread around and the dollars they inject into the urban economy spread around.

It would be interesting to hear the response of the commodity groups to your suggestion.


A very unique idea cowman, but I doubt if it will ever fly. Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 20:19 20 Does anyone remember Taiwan Sugars attempts to build out in that area? Shot down flat. Would have brought all the things that you are talking about as being benefits to the area, but the people there did NOT want it. Will they be any more willing now?

Cowman, I agree with the comment that once the water flows by here, what difference does it make? Well, it might make some in the future because to my knowledge we have no long-term studies done on the groundwater and recharging. They would be expensive and for the long haul to be sure.

The real concern that I had about the meeting(s) is that there are no presentations and to some extent I can understand them not wanting to give presentations because it controls the process and takes any thunder there might be away from grandstanders. Having said that though, if you control the process, you control the outcome to some extent as well. After you watch this taped presentation, then you can go around the room and look at various displays and talk with people. You are also given a 4 page document to read - with all the "answers" to the evaluation form that they want you to fill out. They strongly encourage you to fill the form out before you leave - ostensibly because if you take it home, then you won't fill it out.

Based on the information you are given you are supposed to give an evaluation even though you may need time to process all of the information given.

There doesn't seem to be much of a response in terms of who will move out there, if the water is available.

I also don't foresee the head offices of many companies locating in this area even with water. There seems to be a number of assumptions made and the biggest one is that people will flock to the area if there is water and so far I have seen no evidence in support of this.

My ambivalence about this project keeps growing and I am certainly not convinced that this is the best use of the amount of money that this will take - not only to build it, but to operate it annually. Sure the economic benefit is pegged at 70 cents on the dollar, but how long will it actually take to reap the benefit. Models work fine and so does theory, but reality is another matter entirely. Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 22:00 21 Linda, the Taiwan Sugar application was in Flagstaff County, and you are correct there was huge opposition, and it split the county council in two.
That is one key reason why the provincial government made the decision to remove the authority for siting confined feeding operations from municipalities and appoint the NRCB as the regulator for the AOPA legislation.
Decisions are based on economy, effect on the environment, community and the appropriate use of land. It takes the local politics out of the decision also takes the heat off the municipal council.

One key requirement in the applicants ability to obtain a water licence, and if Alberta Environment is of the view that ample water is not available then no licence will be issued, and the NRCB will not issue an approval regardless of whether all other criteria are met.

Regarding water studies, most counties now have done ground water assessments in partnership with PFRA, so your county should have the information on file. Reply With Quote
Jun 24, 2005 | 22:20 22 Emrald, the groundwater studies I would be interested in seeing is a cumulative effect of all the drilling activity and right now that is a big unknown. We should be aware of lessons that have been hard learned in other areas. The Colorado River is one that comes to mind. It has been allocated to the point that there just simply isn't enough water. How many industries, farms etc. were hurt because of the cumulative shortfall? The Colorado is a mighty big river.

What about infrastructure? Like all the rest of the municipal areas it too will end up costing in the long run and the municipalities involved will be scrambling for money just as many of our counties are.

The point about Taiwan Sugar is that it would have brought value-added industry, jobs, a fairly significant economic benefit, perhaps kept the kids at home and it was soundly and emphatically rejected. What will be any different about other proposed feedlots and/or confined feeding operations - water issues aside? People do not want these things in their back yards.

Cowman, what helped to significantly boost the land values around here was far more a consequence of all the demand primarily by European buyers than the lake dwellers. Bear in mind that the area structure plan did not allow for any of the development that you presently see around the lake, let alone for any increase in that development. It would have far greater value as a natural area and if the only way we can see value in a natural or recreational area is to develop it, then we are truly in a sad state.

Everything is moving at such a fast pace that we have no idea of what the final consequences of our actions are going to be. The biggest point to bear in mind is that we are only borrowing these resources, they are not ours to do with as we will. We could very well be painting future generations into a corner with little or no option. Wouldn't it be nice to leave them some options? Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 06:17 23 Linda: I agree there was a lot of European buyers of farmland but there was also a whole lot of land bought up by Calgary businessmen. The anticipation that eventually the area will flourish as a recreational area was a driving force behind these purchases. And quite frankly from what I heard at the land use meetings that is the goal?
People want to be near water and have a view of the mountains. They like lots of spruce trees and green areas. They will pay for it...more than agricultural activity can afford. I believe the area south and west of the dam, really meets all those expectations?
emerald: Should a family be able to build whatever operation they want? How about if I owned some land right on the edge of Red Deer? Should I be able to build a feedlot or hog barn, even if I meet all the regulations? The fact is the "rules" might say I should be able to...unfortunately then the real world takes over?
Whenever people and agriculture collide, agriculture is going to lose! That is just a fact of the real world?
The injection of huge amounts of money into CFOs from wealthy Europeans was not a good thing in my opinion. They came in with unrealistic dollars and upset the "natural" planning system! The hog barns were being squeezed out of the developed areas before they came in with their mega bucks!
As far as Hutterite colonies go, why would they be treated any different than any other large feeding operation? Hutterites know the value of a dollar and if the price is right they have no problem relocating. After all they do it every twenty years or so?
I wonder what the prediction of costs and benifits of the *****on dam and Glennifer lake were like before the dam was built? I do remember a fierce battle about the merits and costs before it was built. I would suggest it probably was one of the best things that ever was done for the Red Deer river and the city of Red Deer? I truly believe you could call it a success story? Or am I wrong? Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 06:34 24 cowman, you would not be able to locate a feedlot or hog barn etc. near an urban centre such as Red Deer because of the inability of meeting the minimum distance separation from an urban centre or neighbours, plus most large centres have an intermunicipal development plan with their urban neighbour which will include buffer zones where no confined feeding operations are an accepted land use.

In land that is zoned agriculture it is a different matter. Applicants for confined feeding operations must meet all criteria, including set backs and they depend on the size of the operation.

Linda in some communities there is a vocal opposition and on the other hand a silent group of supporters for feeding operations. In many areas that grow a large amount of grain, and transportation costs are through the roof, confined feeding operations are welcomed due to the opportunity to market grain locally .

Appropriate use of land is one criteria where municipalities are in the drivers seat with respect to development of confined feeding operations. If the municipality sets out areas where no confined feeding operations are allowed within their municipal development plan then any application in that area will be denied.
Citizens of a municipality have opportunity for input at the MDP development stage and can clearly indicate to their council the land uses they feel are inappropriate.

I wonder how the agricultural community feels about the Glennifer Lake development in their midst ?

I drive highway 16 nearly every day and the new landfill on the Enoch Reserve is something to behold. Rank odor, garbage flying all over the highway and stuck in fencelines, and line ups of gravel trucks entering the site off the highway.
The odor of rotten garbage on a daily basis must be terrible for the community around the site but they likely had no say in the development because it is on reserve land which is governed by the feds.

If I had a choice I would live beside a feedlot anyday vs a garbage dump with hundreds of trucks entering and leaving and rotton odor 24/7. In fact I do live beside a couple of feedlots, but live far enough away ( 1.5 miles) that under the county permit system I did not have any input at the time they were approved. Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 09:34 25 I cannot speak for the whole ag community and I would suggest that it would be a matter of how the whole community feels versus just one segment. Cowman is right - those with lands adjacent to the lake are likely waiting with baited breath for future development - despite the fact that it does not exist in the area structure plan --- YET. Others around the area are somewhat more skeptical about the development.

When the local Co-op board decided to cater to the lake people, it caused quite a rift within the community and the Co-op was approaching bankruptcy. Some people have shied away from the Co-op and hard feelings still somewhat exist.

Like any small community "outsiders" are not really welcomed and there has been a significant increase in vandalism, attempted theft etc. than there was before for the lake development.

Many of the lake dwellers wish to be left alone, certainly don't want the county getting involved in anything and will never hesitate to let you know just how much money they are adding to the revenue coffers of the county. At some point, the infrastructure costs will outweigh any benefit received. It will be most interesting to see what the group working on the ASP does eventually come up with and how much consultation they do with the permanent residents of the area.

Because many of the people are only semi-resident i.e. only here for part of the year - they do not have the same attachment to the area, nor do they feel the same from an environmental standpoint. They want the conveniences of city life to follow them to the lake. Doesn't always mesh so well with the local values and customs. Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 11:50 26 During my time on council a previously approved bare land condominium applied to expand. The most VOCAL opponents were property owners within the existing condo ! Most of them lived there during the summer, and went south in the winter. Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 12:48 27 And no one has touched on what the Special Areas REALLY is.It`s a benevolent dictatorship municipal form of government where the provincial government truly has all the power.Oh yes, the bureaucrats tell us they abide by the wishes of the people but it is/was never put into legislation.And the majority of the cattlemen seem to like it since they can appear to own their leases(so they think) and collect all(most)of the oil revenue without the cost of TRUE(deeded) ownwership.The water transfer project will probably make these guys show their true socialist side.I feel that issue(land ownership and municpal gov`t form) WILL have to be addressed as/before the project can truly succeed.Property rights/ownership of land WILL have to be addressed.People will not have the encentive to improve property they do NOT own.Other social experiments around the world have shown it and this will be no different. Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 14:15 28 cropduster, do you think that the towns and villages in Special Areas will benefit from the ability to attract business and people if there is water available. The urban centres plus the counties in the area around Coronation etc. are not part of Special Areas governance. Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 14:34 29 I'm not really sure just what "special areas" means? I do know it was basically an area that was so destitute in the thirties that the government had to basically take it over?
Like I stated, I am basically ignorant of what "special areas" actually means!
I just assumed Coronation was in the special areas, as it is pretty bleak!
Enlighten me if you will? Reply With Quote
Jun 25, 2005 | 16:49 30 cowman, I am almost reluctant to post this in case Horse thinks I am engaging in double talk but here goes:
Special Areas fall under a different form of government than Counties and Municipal Districts. They are governed by 13 councillors and a chairperson these individuals are appointed by the government vs being elected.

Towns and Villages included within the boundaries of Special Areas include:
Hanna, Consort, Youngstown,Oyen, Empress, Cereal and Veteran. All of these urban centres have their own elected government. There are 16 hamlets within the boundaries of Special Areas. Total rural population is approx. 5300 people.
Now it gets interesting: Special Areas encompasses over 2 million hectares. There are 5900 kms of open roads and there is over 50 million in reserve dollars socked away for a rainy day. The mill rate is on the lower end of the scale as far as rural municipalities go.

Coronation,Castor and Halkirk are urban municipalities within the boundaries of the County of Paintearth. It is not part of Special Areas but that area is also part of the group that is working on the water diversion initiative. Reply With Quote