By Jensen, Randy on October 9, 2020.
Water is once more flowing into the Milk River through the St. Mary River Diversion project.
According to media sources south of the border, and later confirmed by the Milk River Joint Board of Control, the taps were officially turned on Thursday at about noon.
With the water flowing again, a months-long saga which began back on the May long weekend, when the Drop 5 structure abruptly collapsed at Whiskey Gap in Montana, officially came to a happy ending.
Milk River Mayor Peggy Losey said it was a relief to have the water flowing again before winter, and she thanked everyone on both sides of the border who worked so hard to complete this massive infrastructure project, which also replaced the failing Drop 2 structure at Immigration Gap, in good order.
“It feels good,” she said. “I am relieved to get it done this year, and it is very nice it is up and running. The taps are on, and it is something to celebrate.”
While relieved to have the water flowing again, Losey said she still hoped this situation would serve as a good reminder to the provincial and federal governments that long-term storage continued to be a problem for her residents and their neighbours in the drought-prone Milk River area, leaving local populations increasingly vulnerable to ongoing water shortages.
“It sure would be nice if we could have something longer term,” she confirmed. “There is definitely a need for storage because it is a shame for all that water to flow down to the Mississippi that comes through here in the spring when it could be stored for us and the Americans.”
Losey was also thankful Mother Nature gave southern Alberta a nice long fall to get this work completed before winter. She feels the situation brought out the best in all her local residents.
“It has been really nice to see how people helped out,” she said, “and we just thank everybody for being co-operative.”
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