KENILWORTH – The Grand River Conservation Authority’s (GRCA) general municipal levy will increase by 2.5% in 2020.
For Wellington North, the levy is up 2.6%, bringing the township’s levy to $50,151.
On Feb. 10, Sonja Radoja, manager of corporate services, and Lisa Stocco, manager of communications, presented the GRCA’s statistics, strategic plan, budget challenges and 2020 draft budget.
“We know the prosperity of this watershed is related to the health of the river,” said Stocco, who added the watershed faces three main challenges in the coming years.
The first is population growth. Stocco said in 2016, the watershed’s population was just under one million people. That population is expected to jump to 1.4 million by 2041, and 1.8 million by 2066.
She said most of that growth is anticipated in the urban centres, but even in rural areas, the population of some smaller urban areas is expected to double.
“This growth will also occur in sensitive areas already experiencing water-related conflict and limited ability to deal with additional pressures,” said Stocco. She added that with increasing population, there will be greater demands on agricultural resources.
“One of the challenges will be to meet the needs of extensive agriculture coupled with other watershed demands. The Grand River watershed is one of the richest agricultural regions in Canada, with 70% being farmland.”
Stocco said maintaining a clean water supply for the agricultural community remains vital to the prosperity of the watershed.
“Finally, climate change is an issue we are all facing. Warmer air and water temperatures, bigger storms and erratic weather patterns pose new challenges in managing floods and securing water supplies,” she explained. “With the pressures of increasing population, more frequent and extreme weather events, intensive agricultural use a holistic approach to managing the watershed is needed.”
In 2019, the GRCA updated its strategic plan, she said, adding, “we work with local communities to reduce flood damage, share information and help to make the watershed more resilient.”