The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will spend more than $35 million this year on programs that protect life and minimize property damage from flooding and erosion, improve the health of the Grand River watershed, connect people to the environment through outdoor experiences, and manage land holdings in a responsible and sustainable way.
The budget was approved by the GRCA board on Friday, February 22, 2019. The board is made up of 26 members appointed by the municipalities in the Grand River watershed.
Government grants totalling just under $4.9 million represent about 14 per cent of the budget. This includes funding for major maintenance of water control structures, a source projection program, floodplain mapping projects, and rural water quality landowner grants.
Drinking Water Source Protection Plan: The GRCA continues to work on the updates and implementation of a drinking water source protection plan for each of the four watersheds in the Lake Erie source protection region, including the Grand River watershed, as part of the provincial source protection program under the Clean Water Act, 2006. Along with supporting municipalities and other agencies in implementing the plans, the focus in 2019 is on completing updates to the Grand River source protection plan, including water quantity risk assessment studies, development of water quantity policies, updating water quality vulnerability assessments, and the development of the first annual progress report for the Grand River source protection plan.
Water Management Plan: The water management plan was endorsed in 2014 as an update to the 1982 Grand River basin study that charts a course of actions to reduce flood damages, ensure water supplies, improve water quality, and build resilience to deal with climate change. Municipal, provincial, and federal government, and Six Nations water managers meet quarterly to report on the progress of the commitments in the plan. Two reports are underway and expected to be completed in 2019: a technical report on the state of water resources in the Grand River watershed and a summary report on the status of implementation of the plan.
Water Control Structures: Major water control capital projects planned for 2019 include completion of an ice jam study, floodwall repairs, and permanent closure of abandoned railway openings along the Brantford dikes, repair of the floodwall along the Cambridge dike coordinated closely with City of Cambridge river access projects, gate control system upgrades and concrete repair designs at Conestogo dam, standby generator enhancements and temporary stoplog design to allow isolation of gates at Shand Dam, concrete and embankment repairs at Wellesley Dam, gate refurbishment at New Dundee Dam, and concrete and embankment repairs at St. Jacobs Dam.