Please see the below statement regarding the new drainage regulations announced today by the provincial government. This statement is attributable to Mitch Janssens, KAP Vice President.
“The new Water Rights Act regulations brought into force by Sustainable Development represent a net negative to farmers and to the agriculture industry. We are surprised that the provincial government reversed course on what was proposed during the consultation process in terms of Class 4 and 5 wetlands, and these regulations can impede a farmer’s ability to control water on their land.
In terms of positive steps, we applaud the department for taking steps to address administrative challenges, and for committing departmental staff to resolve drainage disputes that can occur between landowners. This process is not yet complete, and we hope that the department will continue to include KAP in further consultations going forward.
Further clarification is required from the province on the GROW program, and more work is required by the provincial government to ensure that beneficial management practices (BMP) program funding is approved in a timely manner. As KAP has pointed out previously, the GROW program has been announced with few details on how farmers can apply for funding, and what projects will be eligible, and BMP funding has been slow to get to farmers when they need it most. Farmers want to be part of the solution to climate change and protecting their livelihoods from its effects, but the provincial government needs to ensure that farmers are compensated in an adequate and timely manner for the work they are already doing.”