Canadian Underwriter

City council in Sturgeon County, Alberta declares state of agricultural disaster due to drought

July 20, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter

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City council in Sturgeon County, Alta. voted unanimously to declare a “state of agricultural disaster” due to a recent drought and the impact on the livelihood of local farmers.

Moisture levels in some areas of Alberta are at the lowest levels recorded in the last 50 years

“Our agricultural community is a solid part of Sturgeon County and we will do what we can to support them,” Mayor Tom Flynn said in a press release on Monday. “These severe drought conditions are challenging our local farmers, and by issuing this declaration we hope to increase awareness of these tough conditions producers are facing.”

Sturgeon County is experiencing a “once in 50-year low soil moisture levels due to low record rainfall and hot, dry weather,” the release said, noting that the last time Sturgeon County declared a state of agricultural disaster was in June 2009.

Last week, Alberta’s Parkland County also declared a state of agricultural disaster “due to the hardship that weather conditions and drought have placed on local farmers.” Parkland County Mayor Rod Shaigec confirmed in a statement on July 14 that “moisture levels in some areas of Alberta are at the lowest levels recorded in the last 50 years.” In addition, crops in some areas of Parkland County are experiencing “devastation caused by grasshoppers.”

The county notified provincial and federal governments of the state of agricultural disaster and requested the setting up of a disaster recovery program to address the issue.

Mackenzie County is also dealing with drought conditions, the county confirmed on its website.

In neighbouring British Columbia, last week the government announced a Level 4 drought rating for B.C.’s South Coast and Lower Fraser areas due to ongoing low stream flows.

The establishment of a Level 4 drought advisory signals that regional water managers may take additional regulatory actions if they are deemed necessary, B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said last week. For example, specific actions – which are site-specific depending on individual stream conditions – could include the temporary suspension of short-term water approvals or water licences in affected watersheds, if necessary.

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