Aquatera Utilities Inc.

Wapiti River Long-term Water Diversion License

Negotiating conditions of a complex municipal water diversion license using scientific and collaborative approaches

Aquatera Utilities Inc. (Aquatera) supplies water and wastewater facilities to the City of Grande Prairie and surrounding areas. Aquatera was issued a new interim license to divert water in 2006, which has several complicated conditions.

Palmer Environmental Consulting Group Inc. (PECG) was retained by Aquatera to design and implement an aquatic study to satisfy license requirements. PECG developed an expert team in effluent and receiving water body characterization to help Aquatera navigate through a complicated licensing amendment, which included obligatory collaboration with other users of the Wapiti River receiving environment.

PECG’s specific project tasks included the following:

  • Provide strategic support for the long-term license
  • Develop a receiving water body cumulative effects study
  • Provide study design for in-stream flow assessment
  • Conduct field sampling for water and sediment quality, and for algal and benthic communities

PECG was recently awarded a significant additional scope of work, in partnership with Normandeau Associates, to conduct a quantitative assessment of the potential impacts to fish habitat under different water taking scenarios using Physical Habitat Simulation (PHABSIM) modeling and River2D. This ongoing study will allow for the development of new in-stream flow needs targets to meet Aquatera’s water taking needs and protect the aquatic environment within the Wapiti River watershed.