The Grand River Conservation Authority board unanimously approved its budget Feb. 27.
The budget is $31.4-million – about $2.3 million higher than 2008, with much of the increase due to one-time capital projects or special programs, such as source water protection, that are covered entirely by the province, municipalities, or other sources.
The GRCA has three main sources of revenue:
– $9.5 million (33 per cent) from watershed municipalities, mostly raised through water bills or property taxes;
– $7.5-million (25 per cent) from grants, mostly from the provincial government;
– $13-million (43 per cent) from revenue it generates, such as from campground fees, planning fees, tree sales, hydroelectricity generation, rental property income and other sources.
The base operating budget – $17.8-million (56 per cent) – includes ongoing programs, including flood prevention, environmental education, planning advice to municipalities and landowners, operation of trails, forest management and others.
Other expenditures include:
– $5.2 million for the source water protection program, to continue work to develop a source water protection plan under the Clean Water Act to implement the recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry. All costs for this program are paid by the province
– $1.4-million to upgrade the Conestogo Dam near Drayton to increase discharge rates during extremely high flows;
– $265,000 for an update of the Grand River Basin Water Management Study, considering three issues: water quality, water supply, and flood control;
– $700,000 in grants to rural landowners under the Rural Water Quality Program, financed by grants from watershed municipalities; and
– $300,000 to purchase environmentally sensitive land, covered by proceeds from earlier land sales.