City of Medicine Hat is one of the only municipalities in the world that owns and manages its own utilities. Among the lowest utility rates in Alberta, the City of Medicine Hat Utilities provide safe, reliable delivery of electricity, clean and efficient-burning natural gas, high quality drinking water, as well as wastewater collection and treatment, solid waste collection, and recycling and composting for area residents, business and industries. The city utility is expanding with a new natural gas power plant, a $66-million project that will increase the city’s electricity generation from 203-megawatts of power to 247.
The Palliser region is networked by flow lines moving natural gas to processing facilities. Trans Canada will be constructing a pipeline as part of the Energy East Pipeline Project that includes a section beginning at Hardisty, Alberta running through Special Area #3 and #4, and Cypress County and on to Saskatchewan. For more on proposed and planned projects, visit TransCanada.
Oil drilling and well maintenance, hand-in-hand with natural gas activity, also creates employment and direct economic benefit. Several independent and international oil companies own and maintain oil reserves in the Palliser region. Many oil services and trucking companies also operate throughout the region.
The Sheerness coal mine, located approximately 200 km northeast of Calgary near Hanna in Special Area 2, supplies coal to the Sheerness Generating Station, jointly owned by TransAlta Corporation and ATCO Electric. The Station has a nameplate capacity (or power output) of 780 megawatts, providing power generation to many communities in the Palliser region.
Clay beds near Medicine Hat and Redcliff are suitable for brick and stoneware, and extend to other areas of the southeast corner of the Palliser region, notably Dunmore and the Cypress areas.
Public Grazing Land
There are thousands of acres of government-controlled community pastures which provide supplemental grazing for small farm or ranch operators in the Palliser region.
There are also huge provincial grazing reserves. Besides forage for beef cattle, the grazing reserves provide habitat for wildlife and fish, a source of water, and opportunities for recreation. Some grazing reserves in the region are:
- Bow Island Provincial Grazing Reserve, covering over 35,000 acres of both flat and gently rolling land.
- Pinhorn Provincial Grazing Reserve, which runs along the U.S. border directly south of Medicine Hat and encompasses 76,681 acres of rolling native grasslands, divided by steep coulee banks.
- Sage Creek Provincial Grazing Reserve, located in the dry mixed grass sub-region of the grassland natural region, 32 km from the village of Manyberries.
- Seven Persons Provincial Grazing, which covers about 6,605 acres of land within the dry mixed grass sub-region of the grassland natural region. The reserve is crossed by the canals of the St. Mary River Irrigation District.
The main source of water in the region is the South Saskatchewan River Basin. It is estimated that about 30% of employment in southeastern Alberta is linked to irrigation, through primary agriculture and the support of the agricultural processing and value-added sector.
There are two major irrigation systems in the Palliser Region supplying water to a variety of crops in the southeastern part of the region:
- St. Mary River Irrigation District
- The Eastern Irrigation District
There are also smaller irrigation systems and private systems pumping from the Red Deer River on the north side for forage crops. Recreational areas that benefit from irrigation include:
- Bow Island Golf Course
- Connaught Golf Course
- Cottonwood Coulee Golf Course
- Echodale Park
- Forty Mile Park
- Golden Sheaf Park
- Paradise Valley Golf Course
For further information about irrigation in the Palliser Region, visit the South East Alberta Watershed Alliance.
Environment Canada has declared Medicine Hat as the sunniest city in Canada; having the greatest number of sunshine hours annually. The region offers dry, hot summers and cooler, sunny winters interspersed with warm Chinook winds.
There is an average of 2,512 hours of sun per year in the Palliser Region, compared to 2,394 days for Calgary; 2,303 for Edmonton; 2,038 for Toronto; and 1,919 for Vancouver. The region’s growing season is over 120 days.