For over a decade. the town has wrestled with the issue of securing an additional water licence/s to accommodate growth.

Good news has come down the pipes with approval from Alberta Environment and Protected Areas to fully transfer the 3,600 acre-feet-per-year (AFY) of the Girl Guides of Canada water licence from Camp Jubilee to the Town of Cochrane. 

Acquiring this water licence is viewed as a significant milestone that will provide around 80 per cent of Cochrane’s requirement for the next 25 years and will support a future population of at least 100,000 people.

The town administration has been working with the Girl Guides of Canada to facilitate the transfer of their non-consumptive water licence for years and submitted the transfer application to Alberta Environment in June.

READ MORE: Town has made water licence transfer application

In exchange, the town has agreed to provide servicing to Camp Jubilee.

The town's 2024 budget includes $550,000 to support design of the servicing to the pristine 80-acre camp on the Bow River within town limits. At this point, it is estimated to cost $7.35 million to construct the servicing and will be part of council's 2025 budget deliberations.

To fund the acquisition of new licences, the town established water licence connection fees on September 1, 2023.

Last night, Pinky De La Cruz, director of engineering and asset services, explained to town council how an innovative approach was taken that should result in substantial savings for the town. The town was able to combine consumptive and nonconsumptive licences. Acquired on their own, consumptive licences are typically expensive, hard to find, and limited in volumes.

"So through collaboration, a lot of documentation and a lot of water modeling we were able to convince Albert Environment, this is going to work and it's not going to harm the river and aquatic life," she said.

"There's a lot of cost savings because consumptive licenses are very hard to find and very expensive. But with this approach, we're able to come out with a cost-effective solution and significant cost savings."

De La Cruz told council that administration is in negotiations to acquire further licences.