Yukon commits to water investments

The Yukon government has promised to spend $2.7 million enacting its newly minted water strategy over the next three years.

The Yukon government has promised to spend $2.7 million enacting its newly minted water strategy over the next three years.

Some of the money will go towards hiring a hydrogeologist for the territory.

“We need to better understand what our groundwater resources hold,” said Heather Jirousek, acting director of the water resources branch of Environment Yukon.

Ninty-seven percent of Yukoners get their drinking water from groundwater sources, but we don’t have a lot of data about how those systems work, she said.

It will be the job of the hydrogeologist, once one is hired, to come up with a plan to improve our knowledge of Yukon’s groundwater.

Yukon College will get $150,000 over two years to run its water and wastewater operator program, in order to train Yukoners to run water systems in the communities.

And the department will put in 25 new hydrometric monitoring stations and six new water quality monitoring stations across the territory, said Jirousek.

Other programs would improve the models that the Yukon uses to predict floods and update the websites that the territory uses to share information about water resources.

The advantage of having a water strategy is that all of Yukon’s water managers are on the same page about what the priorities are, said Jirousek.

“We have our work cut out for us for three to five years, we know what it is we’re doing. We don’t have to be constantly going back to check in on what it is we should do.”

There will be a formal public review of the strategy in five years.

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