The Aspen Regional Water Commission now has the funds to make improvements on the system after receiving a $1.52 million Alberta Community Resilience Program grant.
Water commission manager Jamie Giberson said the intent of the upgrades is to increase the capacity of the intake pipe to what it was designed for.
“It will certainly improve the resiliency of the overall regional system,” he said. “Being able to move water efficiently, and (it) will better position us for climate change or changes is river flows.”
The grant will cover upgrades to the intake structure in the river and the pipe that conveys water from the intake into the raw water pump house.
Giberson said the original intake was constructed in the 1950s, and it was designed to convey about 80 litres per second of raw water into the pump house. When the new plant was built, the most it would convey was 45 litres per second.
“The intent of this project is to increase the capacity of that pipe back up to what the system was designed for, around that 80 litres per second,” Giberson said.
When the commission applied in 2016 – through the Town of Athabasca – the application was for $2.7 million and would have also funded modifications to process equipment in the raw water pump house. Giberson said the commission’s intent is to complete the full design for the overall raw water system upgrades, but right now the commission will only complete construction of what there is funding available for.
Athabasca-Sturgeon-Redwater MLA Colin Piquette said the province is “well aware” of issues the Town of Athabasca and Athabasca County has faced with their water intake.
“Having dependable high quality water is a foundation for any community. Keeping communities resilient and sustainable is the whole point of the community resiliency grant program,” he said. “This is great news for the community. I know it’s a big relief to the town and for the county.”