Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation share much of the perimeter of Duck Lake in Saskatchewan. Significant flooding in 2014 prompted the development of a partnership with the SSRWSI, the North Saskatchewan River Basin Council (NSRBC), and the University of Saskatchewan to undertake source water protection planning to address threat’s to the community’s ground water source. A successful application to Environment Canada’s Eco Action Fund contributed $99,700 to the project, and each partner contributed time and staff to get the job done.
The project received a lot of community support. Individuals from the Rural Municipality, Town of Duck Lake, First Nation community, and Water Security Agency all helped to work on the plan and carry it out. In total, 735 people participated in the project.
Some of the actions taken to protect groundwater included decommissioning abandoned wells where flooding had introduced coliform bacteria to the aquifer, and decommissioning illegal dump sites to control the risk of leachate contamination. In total, 37 wells were decommissioned and 3 major dump sites were decommissioned. The local Lands department also worked with livestock producers to change the water supply for their herds from treated water to raw water. This reduced the demand on the water treatment center and reduced expenses for treatment.
The photos below show one of the illegal dumping sites before and after decommissioning.