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AMWWP Regional Systems Initiative and Water Strategy Initiative (Water for Life)


Grant Procedures Manual




To support the development of new regional water and wastewater systems under the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership which are more cost-effective and/or environmentally desirable than independent systems.

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Time Frame

The Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership was initiated in 1991. The Water for Life initiative was implemented on April 5, 2006, and is an ongoing program.

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Project Eligibility Criteria

Municipal Eligibility

The water strategy initiative is only available for NEW regional water or wastewater systems or NEW EXTENSIONS to existing regional water or wastewater systems. Funding under these initiatives is available to all regional commissions or groups of two or more municipalities (or eligible hamlets) that are eligible for funding under the AMWWP. Eligible municipalities include  groups of Cities, Towns, Villages, Summer Villages,  Rural Municipalities, or Metis Settlements. Regional Service Commissions, municipal partnerships, public- private ventures, municipalities with contracted services to privately owned utilities are all eligible to receive grant funding assistance. Municipalities may utilize any arrangement for project implementation that is desired.

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Operational Consortia

The capital costs of installing the initial monitoring and control equipment needed for operational consortia is eligible for Water for Life funding at 90 percent as of June 2009.  Stand-alone systems eligible for funding under the regular AMWWP qualify if two or more systems are linked.


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Project Eligibility and Funding Levels - Existing Regional Systems

Existing regional commissions and municipalities with existing regional systems subject to these initiatives are eligible for funding on the same cost-sharing basis as under the AMWWP for water or wastewater projects.

Funding may be available for upgrades to existing regional water supply and treatment and wastewater treatment and disposal facilities under the same project eligibility criteria as the AMWWP, subject to a detailed assessment of eligibility by the department.

Commissions/Municipalities will be required to demonstrate that the regional alternative is cost-effective and can be economically justified compared to alternative facility solutions. Environmental requirements can be taken into account as well as efficiencies in management and operational practices.

A weighted average would be used to calculate the financial assistance for the existing system upgrades and will be calculated based on the cost of the eligible project pro-rated by the official populations of each member municipality. The grant for each member's share will then be calculated based on the formula outlined under the AMWWP,  as shown in the following example.

Example 1:  Existing Regional Sewage System with a treatment upgrading project with partners as below - total project cost = $150,000.  Project serves three communities and one non-eligible industrial partner that needs 33 1/3 percent of the project capacity.  Total eligible project cost is $150,000, less ($150,000 x .333) = $100,000.

Three communities = 7,000 total official population

A.  Community A = 1,000 official population

Pro-rated project cost = 1,000/7,000 x $100,000 = $14,286

Cost sharing ratio = 75%

Community A grant = $14,286 x 75% = $10,715

B.  Community B = 2,300 official population

Pro-rated project cost = 2,300/7,000 x $100,000 = $32,857

Cost sharing ratio = 60.87%

Community B grant = $32,857 x 60.87% = $20,000

C.  Community C = 3,700 official population

Pro-rated project cost = 3,700/7000 x $100,000 = $52,857

Cost sharing ratio = 52.03%

Community C grant = $52,857 x 52.03% = $27,500

      D.  Agricultural Processing Industry that uses 33 1/3 percent of project capacity

TOTAL GRANT = (A)$10,715 + (B)$20,000 + (C)$27,500 = $58,215/$150,000 = 38.81 percent funding

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Project Eligibility and Funding Levels - New Pipelines and Treatment Upgrade

Funding for new regional systems will follow the new funding arrangements as set out below.  Individual project applications will be evaluated by the department in conjunction with the Departments of Municipal Affairs, Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and Agriculture and Rural Development.  Evaluations will examine the following factors:

  • Need for the project; health issues, future water availability, etc.
  • Cost effectiveness of the proposed design in relation to other alternatives, including user rates.
  • Benefits of the project.
  • Conformance to the Water for Life principles and the Water for Life facility assessment (by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development).
  • Ability to fit in with provincial budget availability.
  • Appropriate staged construction scheduling and readiness to proceed.

The primary purpose of the new pipeline system must be for domestic use. Domestic use is defined as household use. Municipalities wishing to construct pipelines which have primary purposes other than domestic usage, may wish to contact the department for further information.

Pipelines are funded for the total requirements of the area.  Industrial, country residential uses, first nation lands, and other uses are included.

New developments planned for the area are considered and a portion may be eligible for assistance.  Individual situations must be approved by the department.

Pipelines for new regional systems (water or wastewater) are funded at 90%.

Pipeline capacity for future extensions to the pipeline to additional regional customers may be requested by the Province and would receive 100% funding.

Upgrades required for new customer(s) at a hub-supplier's plant or at a commission-owned plant would be funded at 100%.  If upgrades are not required at the time of the new customer connection, a 100% grant for the estimated cost of the upgrades would be made at the time of the pipeline construction. An example of a grant for a hub supplier extending service to three other municipalities follows.

Example 2:  New Regional Water project with partners as below - total project cost = $15,000,000.  Project is a pipeline extension to three towns and one non-eligible industrial partner that needs 25 percent of the project capacity.  Water is obtained from a fourth hub municipality.  Pipeline cost is $10,000,000 and the next logical capacity upgrade at the hub supplier water treatment plant has an estimated cost of $5,000,000.  Sixty (60) per cent of the plant upgrade is for the new customers.  The cost of the pipeline to serve the three municipalities is $9,000,000 and the Department of Transportation has requested that the pipeline be built large enough for a future extension to a fourth municipality at an additional cost of $1,000,000.

Three communities = 7,000 total official population, Hub supplier’s population is 100,000.

  1. Community A = 1,000 official population
  1. Community B = 2,300 official population
  1. Community C = 3,700 official population

    d.   Agricultural Processing Industry that uses 25 percent of project capacity.


90% of pipeline cost  ($8,100,000) for the new customers, and 100% of pipeline cost for future users ($1,000,000)


100% of plant upgrade cost (60% x $5,000,000) for the new customers= $3,000,000


0% of plant upgrade cost (40% x $5,000,000) for the hub supplier’s population=$0


= $12,100,000 (80.67 %)

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Feasibility Study Requirements

Feasibility Studies to evaluate new regional systems may be funded by the department at 100%.  Municipalities must receive prior approval for the study.  A copy of the terms of reference for the regional feasibility study must be submitted and approved by Alberta Transportation.  Applications for regional feasibility studies must include a copy of the selected consultant's proposal.  All studies will be managed by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from Alberta Transportation, Alberta Environment, and the municipalities.

The consultant's work plan shall include, but may not necessarily be limited to, the following:

  • Collect and review all previous relevant studies.
  • Review existing facilities and identify upgrading required on each member municipality's water supply and treatment system and/or wastewater treatment and disposal system for a 25 year design horizon, based on current standards.
  • Identify regional servicing options to meet each member municipality's requirements for the 25 year horizon, based on current standards.  The regional system will need to demonstrate acceptable design life, per capita flows, industrial flow estimates, and peaking factors.
  • Identify environmental issues to be addressed (water licenses, regulations, effluent standards, water conservation strategy).
  • Identify public health issues which are associated with each alternative.
  • Provide current costs for the upgrading required on the individual systems and the regional options.  Cost of the hub supplier's upgrades should be included in the analysis.
  • Provide a 25 year net-present-value (NPV) analysis/comparison between the stand-alone systems and the regional option(s).  NPV analysis shall include annual operating and maintenance and capital construction costs using whole dollar costs.  No consideration shall be given for any provincial and/or federal grants in the analysis/comparisons.
  • Provide recommendations for project implementation, including phased construction.

The new system will need to demonstrate acceptable design life, per capita flow estimates, industrial flow estimates, and peaking factors.

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Associated Costs

Funding is also available for associated costs under the same eligibility criteria as the AMWWP.

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NON-Eligible Items

The following will not be considered eligible for funding:

  1. Municipal labor and equipment.
  2. Administration costs (i.e. all municipal employee salaries or council member salaries, office administration costs, etc.).
  3. Goods and Services Tax.
  4. Interim financing costs.

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Water for Life:  Funding For Regional Systems Table


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Municipalities wishing to use available funding under this initiative will generally follow AMWWP procedure as outlined previously.

Applications under this initiative should include the following:

  1. A letter from each member municipality or the regional commission requesting funding.
  2. The technical and financial details of the project.
  3. An analysis of the project's cost/benefit and cost-effectiveness in respect to alternative regional and independent municipal systems.
  4. An implementation schedule.
  5. Proposed rates and impact on the cost for services for each member municipality.
  6. Rate base for water and sewer service and the extent of metering for each member municipality.

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Credit Items

Investment Revenue

Funds received from the department, in excess of current expenditures must be invested in a separate account.

Project revenue earned through the investment of these funds shall be deducted from project costs before the grant calculation is made. Municipalities requiring more information on interest policy should contact the Department.

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The municipality must notify the department of any changes to the project cost or scope as soon as possible.

The department will review the situation and may approve funding and scope changes depending upon the circumstances of each case within the limits of eligibility.

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