Water Conversations

Alberta Environment & Sustainable Resources

Our Water Our Future – A Plan for Action –  November 2014

Water Conversations With Albertans

What Happened in Red Deer

In attendance: 72
March 14, 2013

Healthy Lakes

  • The entire watershed needs to be considered
  • Increase the collaboration of stakeholders, government departments and users
  • Need more education and awareness to help all Albertans understand the impact they have on the health of lakes and the actions they can take to improve
  • Lakes should be managed locally, but include provincial standards for septic systems and setbacks

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • System is working, do not fix what isn’t broken
  • No to privatization, water should not be sold for profit or managed by third parties
  • Regionalization should take into account the different needs of the regions
  • Forward thinking and long-term planning is needed

Hydraulic fracturing

  • What are the long-term impacts; should development be slowed down until there is more information?
  • Is baseline testing adequate enough to fully understand the current state?
  • More information needs to be shared – concerns that information is being withheld, would like more communication between industry and landowners
  • Concerns that landowners will have fewer options under the single regulator

Water management

  • Water that remains in the water cycle should be treated differently than water that is lost
  • Water is not a commodity, unused allocations should be evaluated and reallocated
  • Regional planning and management could be enhanced

What Happened in Drumheller

In attendance: 25
March 19, 2013

Healthy lakes

  • Must maintain both quality and quantity of lakes and watersheds
  • Use all mechanisms to do this – education, monitoring, enforcement, and legislation
  • Reservoir health is important
  • Need better regulations for lakeshore developments
  • Need a consistent framework, clear authority to manage lakes province-wide – lake by lake approach is not sufficient
  • Prescriptive versus subjective approaches to management – look at both of these
  • Need greater transparency

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Need to enhance regulatory framework
  • More transparent, accessible info needed for laypeople
  • Finger-printing for aquifers, wells
  • Must use saline and low quality water sources first
  • More monitoring of groundwater, aquifers is needed
  • Government should incentivize partnerships between users to maximize efficiency of water use
  • Bottom line: we need to protect water and ecosystem health

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Conservation important – we need to use more gray water
  • More consistent monitoring and enforcement for systems that have semi-regular users (youth camps was the specific example that came up)
  • Geographic approach is acceptable as long as the focus continues to be on local realities
  • P3s are not a viable solution for delivery of these services
  • If government proposes standardized changes/upgrades, government should be responsible for costs and delivery of changes
  • Infrastructure and operating costs are different and both need to be accounted for

Water management

  • Need to protect waters in rivers – in-stream flow
  • Need to enhance water storage and consider all possible mechanisms to do this
  • Transfers – need to consider end-use (role for government to do this)
  • Incentivize conservation – this requires being able to measure usage

Above article is from Water Canada – June 2013