«Introduction This annual report presents the activities and results of various agencies in managing drinking water in Saskatchewan for the fiscal ...»
This annual report presents the activities and results of various agencies in managing drinking water in
Saskatchewan for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2012. It reports to the public and elected officials
on public commitments made and other key accomplishments of ministries and agencies engaged in
drinking water management in Saskatchewan.
Although a renewed vision and set of goals were introduced as a result of the 2011 provincial election,
the 2011-12 Annual Report on the State of Drinking Water Quality in Saskatchewan will be presented in relation to the vision and goals that guided the development of the 2011-12 Plan.
Results are provided on publicly committed strategies, actions and performance measures identified in the 2011-12 Plan.
The report also demonstrates progress made on Government commitments as stated in the Government Direction for 2011-12: The Saskatchewan Advantage, the Minister's Mandate letter, throne speeches and other commitments and activities of the ministries and agencies engaged in drinking water management and related activities.
The annual report demonstrates the commitment to effective public performance reporting, transparency and accountability to the public.
This is the tenth Annual Report on the Status of Drinking Water in Saskatchewan. This report is intended to inform residents and elected officials of Saskatchewan of the status of drinking water quality, waterworks infrastructure, source water protection and water-related items and measures in the province over the April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2012 period. The report is a legislated requirement under The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002.
The 2011-12 Annual Report follows a similar format to the 2010-11 Annual Report. The 2011-12 Annual Report on the Status of Drinking Water also sets the stage for the 2012-13 planning and budget process by providing an opportunity to assess the accomplishments, results and lessons learned and how to build on past successes for the benefit of Saskatchewan people.
Safe drinking water is a vital component in the protection of public health and disease prevention and therefore essential for the health and well-being of Saskatchewan’s citizens. High quality water is important for maintaining natural ecosystems and the species that depend upon them, ensuring the productivity of industry, sustaining commerce and for sustaining growth in the province. The quality of drinking water, the condition of systems that produce it and the protection of source waters remains an important public health and environmental issue in Saskatchewan at the present time and for the future.
The report outlines the roles, responsibilities and resources of ministries and agencies involved in water management, as well as the regulatory framework and activities undertaken by the Government of Saskatchewan to manage drinking water. The report also discusses operator certification, drinking water quality monitoring, wastewater management, source protection, information management systems and public education initiatives, which are key actions and indicators of performance in improving drinking water quality in Saskatchewan. This report is completed annually in accordance with recommendation 26(d) of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry into matters relating to the safety of the public drinking water supply in the City of North Battleford, March 28, 2002.
Recommendation 26(d) states that: “The Environmental Management and Protection Act be amended to: (d) provide that the unit produce an annual report to the legislature on the state of drinking water
quality in the province.” The Report of the Commission of Inquiry is available online at:
The report includes contributions from Saskatchewan Ministries of Environment, Health, Municipal Affairs (MA) and Agriculture (AG), as well as material provided by the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority (SWA) and SaskWater. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment’s Municipal Branch compiled the report.
Alignment with Government Direction The actions undertaken to protect and sustain drinking water and source water for the future align with
government’s vision and three goals:
Our Government’s Vision A secure and prosperous Saskatchewan, leading the country in economic and population growth, while providing a high quality of life for all.
Government’s Goals Sustain Economic Growth for the benefit of Saskatchewan people, ensuring the economy is ready for growth and positioning Saskatchewan to meet the challenges of economic and population growth and development.
Secure Saskatchewan as a safe place to live and raise a family where people are confident in their future, ensuring the people of Saskatchewan benefit from the growing economy.
Keep Government’s Promises and fulfill the commitments of the election, operating with integrity and transparency, accountable to the people of Saskatchewan.
Together, all ministries and agencies support the achievement of government’s three goals, and work towards a secure and prosperous Saskatchewan.
An Overview of Drinking Water Management in Saskatchewan Since the waterborne disease outbreaks of May 2000, in Walkerton, Ontario and spring 2001, in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, the Government of Saskatchewan has heightened and focused efforts to improve drinking water supplies and protect source waters in the province. The intent of these efforts is to provide safe drinking water. These actions are also intended to reassure the citizens of the province that government is helping to ensure our drinking water is safe.
Several ministries and agencies are involved in the governance and protection and/or provision of drinking water supplies and source waters in Saskatchewan including the Ministries of Environment, Health, Municipal Affairs, and Agriculture, Regional Health Authorities (RHA), Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, and SaskWater. The following is a summary of the major roles, priorities and actions of each of the government ministries and agencies involved in drinking water management and source water protection.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment leads ongoing planning, implementation and reporting associated with drinking water governance and management to which all participating ministries and agencies contribute;
implements, inspects and regulates compliance for 572 licensed municipal waterworks, 68 permitted pipelines, 39 regional or provincial park waterworks, 24 industrial waterworks, 86 other permitted waterworks (such as trailer courts, institutions and Hutterite colonies), and 587 wastewater facilities under The Water Regulations, 2002;
issues permits for construction and operation of water and wastewater works;
develops policies, protocols, water quality standards and guidelines to support protection of drinking water and implementation of The Water Regulations, 2002;
liaises with the Operator Certification Board (OCB);
manages the Ministry of Environment’s (the ministry) drinking water information system, Environmental Management System (EMS) that houses water quality and inspection data for all ministry regulated waterworks and wastewater works in the province;
monitors surface water quality at primary surface water quality stations across the province; and manages the www.SaskH2O.ca website that supplies a broad range of drinking water related information gathered from water management authorities within the province.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Municipal Affairs provided financial assistance for water infrastructure under the Canada-Saskatchewan Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF), the Canada-Saskatchewan Building Canada Fund-Communities Component (BCF-CC), the Canada-Saskatchewan Provincial/Territorial Base Fund (PT Base), the Canada-Saskatchewan Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF), the Saskatchewan Infrastructure Growth Initiative (SIGI) and the Northern Water and Sewer Program for 2011-12;
legislates and regulates pricing policies and capital investment strategies for municipal waterworks;
and legislates and regulates municipal protection of water sources through planning bylaws.
Saskatchewan Watershed Authority monitors source (surface/ground) water;
provides flood forecasting and identifies flood susceptible areas;
leads watershed and aquifer planning;
owns, operates and maintains water management infrastructure;
provides waterworks source water approval (except municipal);
allocates groundwater and surface water for use; and develops and provides State of Watershed Reporting.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Health/Health Regions inspects for compliance at semi-public waterworks and certain other waterworks as required by The Health Hazard Regulations;
manages data systems for Public Health Inspectors and laboratory information;
analyses water through the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory; and provides advice and addresses waterborne illnesses.
Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture has responsibility under The Agricultural Operations Act for intensive livestock provisions;
administers The Irrigation Act, 1996 and provides water related advice;
provides pesticide (applicator) licenses under The Pest Control Products (Saskatchewan) Act;
conducts research, demonstrations and technology transfer;
provides advice on farm water supplies; and coordinates Environmental Farm Planning (Federal/Provincial Growing Forward Agreement).
SaskWater a commercial Crown water utility that provides the following water services in Saskatchewan for
municipalities, industries and First Nation communities:
potable and non-potable water supply;
wastewater treatment and management;
certified operations and maintenance for customer-owned systems;
project management services;
water leak detection services;
operator training; and remote monitoring services.
The Ministries of Environment and Health, and the individual RHA’s continue to deliver water and wastewater programming and governance through a system of centralized planning, protocol and standards development and regionalized inspection and compliance services. During 2011-12, the Ministry of Environment’s staff complement totaled 33.9 full time equivalents (FTE) for delivery of all aspects of the ministry’s drinking water and wastewater management activities. The ministry employs an additional three FTEs to manage the EMS and the SaskH20.
The Ministry of Health’s Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory has 17.5 FTEs that are dedicated to water testing and the accreditation program in support of the Safe Drinking Water Strategy. Health Region Public Health Inspectors, Medical Health Officers and Public Health Nurses also play a role in water related activities (i.e. semi-public water supply inspection, issuance of Emergency Boil Water Orders (EBWO) and water borne disease investigations).
The Ministry of Agriculture has nine FTEs that deliver intensive livestock inspection and regulatory approval services to ensure protection of water resources from intensive livestock operations. One additional full time position provides technical assistance to address environmental issues related to livestock development and abattoir waste management. Ministry of Agriculture staff continues to participate in the Aquifer/Watershed planning activities and technical committees. It also develops and distributes management and technology information for conservation and grazing and crop production that reduce and/or minimize impacts to water resources. Three FTEs deliver pesticide regulatory services.
The Pest Control Products (Saskatchewan) Act and regulations require any individual who uses or applies a pesticide, as part of their duties or, for commercial gain to hold a valid pesticide applicator license. An applicant for a pesticide applicator license must pass a pesticide applicator course. This training is valid for five years; however, the applicator license is renewed on an annual basis.
Pesticide education and applicator training and certification are recognized as a key tool in risk reduction. Education helps mitigate the risks associated with pesticide application and results in the more responsible use of pesticides. The responsible use of pesticides helps preserve the natural environment while keeping it safe for the use and enjoyment of the general public.
In Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) offers pesticide applicator courses. There are currently 2,056 licensed pesticide applicators in the province.
The Ministry of Agriculture administers The Irrigation Act, 1996. The legislation ensures soils and water are suitable for sustainable irrigation. Irrigation soils, water quality and water tables are monitored for sustainability.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs’ water-related programming is mainly provided through centralized policy development and program delivery services.
Key partners outside the provincial government include the federal government through the Building Canada Fund, Federal Gas Tax program, Canada-Saskatchewan Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, participants in the Growing Forward Agreement, municipalities and other waterworks owners, the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA), the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM), the Saskatchewan Water and Wastewater Association (SWWA) and the Operator Certification Board (OCB).
SWWA and the OCB have been instrumental in advancing waterworks operator certification in the province. The OCB is appointed by government, but operates at arm’s length in considering the qualification and standing of water and wastewater works operators in the province. Key stakeholders are consulted on a periodic basis to aid in the ongoing development and delivery of drinking water and wastewater related programming and activities of the Government of Saskatchewan.
The following sections of the report provide information on the status of drinking water in Saskatchewan during 2011-12. Further information on drinking water quality is available on the SaskH2O website www.SaskH20.ca, and on the Ministry of Environment’s website www.environment.gov.sk.ca.