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More Water Licenses Mean More Development in Okotoks

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In the long term, Okotoks' ability to grow hinges on the construction of a water pipeline from Calgary—but until then, water license transfers will have to do.

A couple of transfers approved last week have green lit residential development in areas around Drake Landing and the Air Ranch.

The two seasonal licenses allow the Town to draw an additional 115,000 cubic metres of water from upstream on the Sheep River.

"Those irrigation licenses allow us to use them from May 1 to Sept. 30 which coincides, of course, with increased water consumption activity," said Okotoks Municipal Manager Rick Quail. "The total licensed allocation on an annual basis for Okotoks is approaching 3.3 million cubic metres."

The latest water license transfers increase the town's maximum capacity by approximately 2,000 people, meaning it can now support a population of roughly 31,700.

According to the latest municipal census, around 27,300 people currently call Okotoks home.

As the Town waits on Calgary for financial details on the provision of water via pipeline, any additional water licenses transferred to the Town mean residential building can go ahead, bit by bit.

"Future phases within the queuing system that we have in place—so subdivisions that have been put in place, or additional phases of subdivisions that developers are anxious to bring forward—we're not approving [these builds] until we have the licenses for water in our hands," said Quail.

Because it benefits them directly, developers have been known to assist Okotoks in the water license acquisition process.

Written by Jessica Hallam, Okotoks Online

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