Alberta’s drinking and wastewater systems

 

There is nothing more fundamental to life than water.

We are committed to ensuring safe, secure drinking water for all Albertans.  In fact, we already have some of the safest drinking water in North America:

Like many jurisdictions around the world, Alberta is faced with growing communities and aging infrastructure.  As our province continues to grow, the integrity of our municipal water systems will be of utmost importance.  Without dependable drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, we can’t keep our communities healthy, grow our economy, or protect our environment.

Standards also change over time as knowledge, technology and experience grows.  Municipal water systems need to adapt to these evolving standards through operational changes, maintenance and facility upgrades.

With over 600 independently managed drinking water systems and approximately 600 wastewater systems in Alberta, we need to consider new and innovative approaches to ensure we continue to meet expectations and demands, while minimizing the cost to users.

Graphic of Edmonton's regional water supply system. Courtesy of EPCOR

Edmonton’s regional water supply system (click to enlarge)

One proposal is to shift towards a geographical model, which will see multiple water systems in a region managed more efficiently by a single, integrated entity.  Facilities in these systems may be directly connected, where others may remain seperate but managed as part of the regional system.

This approach has already proven effective in some areas of the province.  Edmonton’s regional supply system provides drinking water to other urban and rural communities, some more than 100 kilometres away.                 

Although the focus of this approach is to move towards a more sustainable and efficient system, a geographic model may also provide added conservation and watershed protection.  There are associated potential implications to moving to regional water systems, including:

  • Additional investments in infrastructure
  • Possible changes to legislation to enable geographic water management
  • Changes to governance structures

We’d like to hear your thoughts on the future of Alberta drinking water and wastewater systems.  Some key questions are:

  • How do we ensure drinking water and wastewater systems have the necessary resources to improve infrastructure?
  • Given the number of systems across the province, how do we make improvements to integrate these systems efficiently?

Cover of the Water Conversation guideYou can learn more about the geographic approach on our website and by reading the conversation guide.

Join the conversation by:

Thanks – we look forward to hearing from you!

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