Alberta Water Council releases fourth review of provincial water strategy
This week, the Alberta Water Council released their most recent review of the work we’re doing to implement Alberta’s Water for Life strategy. The report outlines the objectives we’ve achieved so far, and provides some direction for the future. It is a great resource – and I applaud the hard work that went into producing it.
In 2013, we will celebrate Water for Life’s 10th anniversary. The strategy was created because we know that there is nothing more fundamental to health and quality of life than access to a safe and secure water supply. Conserving Alberta’s water supply for future generations requires a comprehensive approach that looks at every aspect of water conservation and use, across the province.
Since 2003, we’ve been working hard to implement that approach. While we are proud of our efforts, we also know that it’s important to have an external group telling us whether we’re on the right track. That’s why we asked the Alberta Water Council to review our work on the Water for Life strategy periodically and provide suggestions for things we can do even better. And since 2004, that’s exactly what they’ve done.
This review is the fourth report the Council has made, and it covers the work we’ve done from 2009 to 2011. In general, it’s positive: we’re on track to achieve many of the goals we set out in our 2009 action plan, and we’ve already accomplished others.
It also provides us with some recommendations, highlighting policy areas that we need to pay special attention to. Some – like drinking water management and aquatic ecosystem health – are broad; others are more technical. In all cases, they are issues that we are already working on. This report reminds us of how important it is for this work to continue.
I was particularly happy to see that the council’s recommendations highlight the importance of transparent and broad public consultation on our water allocation priorities. We know that any policy decisions we make must be informed by the priorities of Albertans – and we’re acting accordingly.
Our Water Conversation, scheduled to take place in 2013, will create an open public forum for Albertans to share their thoughts on four water topics – healthy lakes, water use for hydraulic fracturing, water management, and drinking and wastewater systems. Supporting this dialogue will be a major priority for us in the coming year – and it’s great to have the council’s report confirm that we’re on the right track.
I encourage all interested Albertans to take a look at the complete report and read for themselves what it has to say. On behalf of Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, I want to thank the Council for the great work they’ve done over the last nine years. It is heartening to see our successes affirmed – and it is useful to have such a clear reminder of our priorities as we move forward.
– Diana McQueen, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development