Overview

Water for Life funding is available to regional commissions or groups of 2 or more municipalities for new extensions to existing regional water or wastewater systems.

Funding

Funding is calculated using a weighted average based on eligible project costs prorated by the official populations of each municipality applying for funding.

The grant for each municipality's share is then calculated using the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership funding formulas.

For hamlets, population is based on a statutory declaration from the municipality applying on the hamlet's behalf.

Populations and grant percentages are determined at the time of approval and do not change during the project.

Example:

Project type: A treatment upgrading project for an existing regional sewage system

Total project cost: $150,000

Project partners:

  • communities with a total official population of 7,000
  • an ineligible industrial partner that needs 33 1/3% of the project’s capacity

Total eligible project cost calculation:

  • Total project cost - (Total project cost X 33 1/3% for ineligible partner costs) = Total eligible project cost

The total eligible project cost for this example is:

  • $150,000 - ($150,000 x 33 1/3%) = $100,000

Table 1. The total grant for this project example is calculated as follows:

Official Population Prorated project cost Cost-sharing percentage Community grant total Total project grant as a percentage of total project costs
  Calculation: Community’s official population (Column 1) / Total official population of the 3 communities (7,000) x Total eligible project cost ($100,000) Calculated using the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP) funding formulas (see Table 2.) Calculation:Prorated project cost (Column 2) x cost-sharing percentage (Column 3) Calculated using community grant totals in Column 4:(Community A grant + Community B grant + Community C grant) / Total project cost = X% funding
Community A = 1,000 1,000/7,000 x $100,000 = $14,286 75% (as per the AMWWP funding formula for official populations less than 1,000) $14,286 x 0.75 = $10,715  
Community B = 2,300 2,300/7,000 x $100,000 = $32,857 60.87% (as per the AMWWP funding formula for official populations 1,000 to 3,000) $32,857 x .6087 = $20,000
Community C = 3,700 3,700/7000 x $100,000 = $52,857 52.03% (as per the AMWWP funding formula for official populations  3,001 to 10,000) $52,857 x .5203 = $27,500
Ineligible industry that uses 33 1/3% of project capacity Ineligible for funding Ineligible for funding Ineligible for funding
Total grant for the project   ($10,715 + $20,000 + $27,500) / $150,000 = $58,215 or 38.81% in funding

Table 2. Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership funding formulas

Official population
Funding
Less than 1,000 75% of project costs
1,000 to 3,000 Grant = [(0.5 X Population) + 250] X 100 / Population
Example: Population = 2,300
[(0.5 X 2,300) + 250] X 100 / 2,300 = 60.87
Grant = 60.87% of projects costs
3,001 to 10,000 Grant = [(0.25 x Population) + 1,000] X 100 / Population
Example: Population = 5,300
[(0.25 X 5,300) + 1,000] X 100 / 5,300 = 43.87
Grant = 43.87% of projects costs
10,001 to 45,000 Grant = 35 – [0.001 X (Population - 10,000)]
Example: Population = 15,300
35 – [0.001 X (15,300 – 10,000)] = 29.7
Grant = 29.7% of project costs

Eligible applicants can also apply for federal funding for water and wastewater projects through:

Eligibility

Eligible applicants

Existing regional commissions and municipalities with existing regional systems are eligible for Water for Life funding on the same cost-sharing basis as the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership (AMWWP) for water or wastewater projects.

Funding under Water for Life is available to all regional commissions or groups of 2 or more municipalities (or eligible hamlets) that are eligible for funding under the AMWWP:

  • regional commissions
  • groups of 2 or more eligible municipalities (or eligible hamlets) which include:
    • cities (under 45,000 population)
    • towns
    • villages
    • summer villages
    • rural municipalities
    • Metis Settlements
  • municipal partnerships
  • public-private ventures
  • municipalities with contracted services to privately owned utilities

Eligible projects

Funding may be available for upgrades to:

  • existing regional water supply and treatment facilities
  • wastewater treatment and disposal facilities

These follow the same project eligibility criteria as the Alberta Municipal Water/Wastewater Partnership, subject to a detailed assessment of eligibility by Alberta Transportation.

Additional criteria

  • Environmental requirements may be taken into account as well as efficiencies in management and operational practices.
  • Municipalities are required to carry out projects on a contract basis.
  • All services, material and equipment used on funded projects must be from the private sector.
  • Municipalities are encouraged to support Alberta companies supplying goods and services to the waterworks and wastewater industry.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that the regional project option is cost-effective and can be economically justified compared to other facility solutions.

Eligible costs

The grant can cover the following costs:

  • construction costs
  • right-of-way acquisition and/or land costs, including expropriation costs
  • relocation and adjustment of associated utilities
  • engineering costs
  • survey fees
  • legal fees
  • advertising for tenders
  • other costs (such as audit fees)

Municipalities should contact Alberta Transportation to determine eligibility of other related costs.

Ineligible costs

The grant will not cover the following costs:

  • municipal labour and equipment
  • administration costs, such as municipal employee and council member salaries and office administration costs
  • GST
  • water licence costs

How to apply

Step 1. Select project

Municipalities should contact Alberta Transportation prior to applying to discuss the eligibility of proposed projects.

Funding applications must be submitted to the department by November 30 to ensure consideration for the next fiscal year’s budget.

The municipal council must make a motion to apply for funding for the project.

Step 2. Complete the application package

Alberta Transportation will work with the municipality to review the scope of work and the cost-effectiveness of the project.

Regional directors and infrastructure managers in Alberta Transportation’s regional offices are available to provide advice to the municipality during the preparation of the project proposal.

Include the following documents in the application package:

  • a letter to the Regional Director in the Alberta Transportation Regional Office (PDF, 148 KB) from each member municipality or the regional commission requesting funding
  • request for funding
  • project description
  • project rationale (design criteria)
  • proposed implementation schedule
  • detailed cost estimates following the cost estimate requirements
  • outline of how the municipal share of project costs will be funded (if applicable)
  • proposed rates and the impact on the cost for services for each member municipality
  • rate base for water and wastewater service and the extent of metering for each member municipality

The municipality must enter the project information in the Municipal Grants Management Application.

Step 3. Submit the application package

Submit the application package in person or by mail to your local Alberta Transportation Regional Office (PDF, 148 KB).

Find your region by checking the Municipalities, Locations and Corresponding Alberta Transportation Regions list (PDF, 608 KB).

After you apply

Applicants will be notified in writing of the project's eligibility for funding.

Project approval is conditional upon funding availability and the suitability of the project.

Applications will be evaluated based on:

  • project size
  • design
  • staging
  • need
  • cost-effectiveness
  • municipal population (actual and projected)

The following will also be considered:

  • date the application is submitted
  • type of project, prioritized as follows:
    • Priority 1: health-related improvements involving upgrading water treatment or water supply facilities
    • Priority 2: environmental protection improvements related to wastewater treatment projects affecting the environment
    • Priority 3: system and development related improvements, such as safety, fire protection and operational improvements

Step 4. Sign memorandum of agreement

Alberta Transportation, in consultation with the municipality, will select a payment method for each approved project. Larger, more complex projects will require a formal agreement with the municipality.

Alberta Transportation will develop a memorandum of agreement outlining its responsibilities and the municipality’s responsibilities. The agreement will include a grant calculation chart and grant payments schedule.

The mayor or reeve and chief administrative officer must sign 2 copies of the agreement on behalf of the municipality. The signed copies must be witnessed or sealed and then returned to the department for execution.

Step 5. Select construction basis

Work on the funded project must be done on a contract basis.

For smaller projects, it may be more feasible to complete the work on a day labour basis. The municipality must receive prior approval from Alberta Transportation if it wants to use this option.

Work undertaken with municipal forces (equipment and labour) is not eligible under the program.

When renting equipment for construction on a day labour basis, the rental rates for equipment must not exceed the current year rental rates as published in the Alberta Roadbuilders and Heavy Construction Association’s Equipment Rental Rates and Membership Roster.

The municipality must advertise tenders for projects undertaken on a contract basis.

Step 6. Accept lowest bid

Alberta Transportation follows the principle of awarding work to the lowest bona fide bidder.

Municipalities are required to do the same and award work to the lowest bona fide bidder when tendering projects funded by the department.

If the municipality accepts a higher bid without prior approval from the department, the municipality will jeopardize the grant funding for its project.

If the municipality believes there are exceptional circumstances where the lowest bid is unacceptable, it must submit a written report to Alberta Transportation requesting approval to award to other than the low bidder.

The report must clearly explain the municipality’s reasons for the recommendation and provide details of all tenders received. The department will review the report and advise the municipality how it will impact the grant funding.

The municipality must provide the following information before receiving payment:

  • a summary of tenders
  • price schedule of the selected tender
  • estimated construction start date
  • project costs to date

Step 7. Conduct work

The municipality is responsible for:

  • financing the entire cost of the project
  • getting all necessary permits, licences, authorities, property easements and lands
  • retaining competent engineering expertise as required to meet provincially acceptable design, construction and environmental standards
  • building the project at sole risk in accordance with the project's plans and specifications
  • assuming all liability for damage claims related to the project

Step 8. Receive advance payment(s)

After Alberta Transportation has reviewed the project status it may provide the municipality with an advance payment which is a portion of the estimated grant.

Depending on the program’s cash flow and the status of project, the amount and timing of funding payments may vary.

The timing of the payments can be structured to flow with the construction of the project as determined during the approval process.

The final payment is then issued upon completion and verification of costs.

Step 9. Deposit funds in separate account

Funds received from Alberta Transportation that exceed current expenditures must be invested in a separate account.

The interest earned from these funds must be applied to reduce the total project costs, excluding GST.

Project revenue earned through the investment of these funds will be deducted from project costs before the grant calculation is made.

Contact Alberta Transportation for more information on this interest policy.

Step 10. Notify when project is 80% complete

The municipality must keep Alberta Transportation regularly informed of the project’s progress.

Before receiving additional payment, the municipality must notify the department in writing of costs incurred to date when the project is nearly 80% complete.

Other advance payments may be available over the course of the project, depending on project size and funding availability.

Step 11. Complete work

Once the municipality is satisfied that the project is complete, it must notify Alberta Transportation and prepare its submission for final payment.

The department may either inspect the project work or ask the municipality to provide evidence that a professional engineer completed an inspection.

Step 12. Submit final payment claim form

The municipality must submit the following information to Alberta Transportation to receive the final grant payment after the project is complete:

  • final payment claim form with project invoices and revenues
    • construction and engineering costs must be itemized separately
  • summary of details of interim financing charges, if applicable
  • details of interest earned on the project
  • confirmation, on municipal letterhead, that the project is complete

The municipality must advise the department of any cost changes that occurred.

Step 13. Receive final payment

Alberta Transportation will review the final claim before making the final payment to the municipality.

The department may audit projects that receive grant funding.

Reporting

Revisions

The municipality must notify Alberta Transportation of project cost or scope changes as soon as possible.

The department will review the information and may approve funding and scope changes that fall within the eligibility limits. Scope changes and cost increases will be considered new projects and may be eligible for future grants.

Grant recipients

Recent recipients

2018 Water for Life grant recipients

Past recipients

Water for Life grants to municipalities - 2015 to 2018
Water for Life grants to municipalities - 2004 to 2015

Contact

For more information about the Water for Life program, find your region by checking the Municipalities, Locations and Corresponding Alberta Transportation Regions list (PDF, 608 KB), then contact the Infrastructure Manager in your local Alberta Transportation Regional Office:

Central Region

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 403-340-5166
Fax: 403-340-4810

Address:
Infrastructure Manager
4th Floor, Provincial Building
4920 51 Street
Red Deer, Alberta  T4N 6K8
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North Central Region

Hours: 8:15 am to 12:00 pm and 1 pm to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-674-4700
Fax: 780-674-8383

Address:
Infrastructure Manager
4513 62 Avenue
Barrhead, Alberta  T7N 1A5
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Peace Region

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-624-6280
Fax: 780-624-2440

Address:
Infrastructure Manager
1st Floor, Provincial Building 
9621 96 Avenue
Peace River, Alberta  T8S 1T4
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Southern Region

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 403-381-5426

Address:
Infrastructure Manager
3rd Floor, Administration Building
909 3 Avenue North
Lethbridge, Alberta  T1H 0H5
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