The town of Okotoks has voted to pursue the development of a regional water system via Calgary to meet the future growth needs.

With the town’s water usage approaching the 700 million gallons per year it is permitted to draw from the nearby Sheep River, additional water capacity is required to meet the town’s long-term growth plan.

Other options the town had included as possible solutions for more water had included drawing its own water from the Bow River and treating it locally, or work with nearby towns such as High River, Black Diamond and Turner Valley on a regional water plan.

In September, Okotoks adopted a proposed 60-year annexation plan that included acquiring an additional 1,188 hectares of land. The land would come from the MD of Foothills around Okotoks and include three significant developments in varying stages of approval: Gold Medal, Sandstone Springs and Wind Walk.

Last year, Okotoks town council voted 5-2 in favour of eliminating the town’s population cap of 35,000. The cap had been in place largely due to concerns over the town’s continuing water supply. Okotoks’ population is currently approaching 27,000.

“Okotoks Town Council looks forward to working with the City of Calgary and the Alberta Government to develop plans that will secure a sustainable long term water source for Okotoks and our neighboring communities,” stated Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson.