Water Security Agency makes water and land available to help fight drought

Kat Smith/pexels.com

On Monday, the Water Security Agency (WSA) announced it will make water and vacant land available to support farmers and ranchers experiencing drought conditions.

According to the WSA, the support will be available in the southern portion of the province where conditions are most dire.

“With the well below normal amounts of moisture in many areas across Saskatchewan our government is working hard to support our farmers and ranchers,” Minister Responsible for the Water Security Agency Jeremy Cockrill said in a press release.

“WSA is looking to make water available to producers in areas experiencing drought conditions or allow ranchers to utilize vacant WSA owned lands for feed supplies.”

WSA owns and manages agricultural lands across Saskatchewan for water management purposes. Farmers and ranchers near WSA lands are encouraged to contact the agency to see if there are any underutilized or vacant lands that could be made available.

Farmers and ranchers are also not required to obtain a water rights license when hauling water from a municipal supply like an RM tankload facility. If producers own or occupy land near water like deep or shallow wells, springs, lakes, sloughs, streams, creeks and rivers and want to use it for watering stock or spraying crops, no permit is needed.

“We recognize the serious challenges Saskatchewan producers are currently facing due to ongoing dry conditions in many areas,” Minister of Agriculture David Marit added.

“We’re moving quickly at every level to investigate additional relief options such as this one by

WSA, while our existing business risk management programs such as AgriInvest, AgriStability and AgriInsurance continue to be a primary line of defence for producers.”

The Saskatchewan Cattleman’s Association (SCA) also welcomes the relief.

“With deteriorating conditions due to prolonged drought, feed availability is a top priority for producers looking to maintain their herds,” SCA Board Chair Keith Day said.

“Any solutions that bring more feed online for livestock to access is welcome, and this is another option for those in need.”

WSA will also be prioritizing farmers and rancher’s applications for licenses. Hauling water from a WSA reservoir or other provincial water supply typically requires a temporary water rights license. These applications will be prioritized and issued within 48 hours or less.

The WSA encourages producers to contact their Client Service Centre at 1.866.727.5420 or via email at client.service@wsask.ca for more info on available water supplies in their area and/or to obtain a temporary water rights license.