Camrose County Council passed a new Drainage Bylaw on December 14th, 2021 that clarifies enforcement for illegal drainage activities that negatively impact Camrose County property, including County culverts, roads and ditches.
Although this new bylaw outlines the penalties and enforcement process that would be taken in the event of drainage offences, it is not a change to authorities. Alberta Environment remains the authority on all drainage items between property owners. Camrose County has no jurisdiction to become involved in these disputes. Secondly, this is not a change to the Drainage District Act authorities. The Drainage Districts retain the authority to construct works, use lands, including road allowances, within the District Boundaries. This new bylaw pertains only to drainage affecting County property.
Camrose County owns the rural road network infrastructure, 2600 km of gravel roads and over 8000 culverts. County Administration is tasked with maintaining and protecting this infrastructure. This new bylaw will give County Public Works and Protective Services staff a standard process to address issues.
County roadside ditches are designed to accommodate natural drainage. “Ditching” impacts the steady, gradual movement of water during springtime and causes downstream issues. Slopes in the ditch can be affected, and the road structure can be compromised. Culverts can be damaged by excessive volumes of water when illegal “ditching” is performed.
Landowners may feel that facilitating the movement of water off their land is their right but altering or accelerating the natural movement of water is illegal. Landowners are not permitted to drain ANY wetland without first obtaining Provincial Authorization. Trenching issues relating to private land can be reported to the Alberta Government Hotline (1-800-222-6514) as this is not a Camrose County issue.