Water for Life: On track to achieve goals

Photo of a canoeist under the caption Water for Life

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.

Woman splashing water on face in streamThis 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

New online tool for water well owners

Photo of a water well on a farmer's fieldAlbertans have a new tool to get groundwater information in the province.

Since 2006, companies developing coalbed methane have been required to participate in a mandatory Baseline Water Well Testing program to test landowner’s water wells before CBM drilling. 

Under the program, the companies are required to test for:

  • water well quality;
  • water well production capacity; and
  • the presence or absence of gas (including methane).

This data is now available online and complements existing information on Alberta’s water well information database, where users can also find water well drilling reports.

Using the interactive map, users can narrow their interests to a particular area and generate specific reports. A variety of search options are available and you can even generate reports for multiple wells at multiple sites.

Now Albertans have another tool to help them understand underground water in the province.  We encourage well owners to take a look at what’s happening in and around your community.