St. Mary Canal failure in Montana impacting water in the Milk River
The failed concrete drop structure. Photo credit to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The Alberta government is working to address impacts for people who use water from the Milk River after an infrastructure failure just south of the border.
Back in mid-May a concrete drop structure failed on the St. Mary Canal, which is located in northern Montana and owned by the U.S Bureau of Reclamation.
The canal diverts water from the St. Mary River to the Milk River.
Permanent repairs to the canal will begin immediately, with completion scheduled for September.
Environment Minister Jason Nixon says the province recognizes the severity of the situation and the importance of the Milk River basin to surrounding communities.
With no canal in place, water licence holders in southern Alberta should be prepared for only natural flows on the Milk River throughout the summer.
Environment and Parks will support those water users in the Milk River basin with an updated water supply outlook, updates on infrastructure repairs south of the border, details on allotments and water use by each country and support for water conservation planning, as necessary.
Recreational users will also be impacted. Without diverted water via the St. Mary Canal, Milk River water levels will likely be too low this summer for activities like canoeing or kayaking.
Repairs to the canal will be paid for by U.S. officials.