Water Conversation: Peace River

Wednesday’s Water Conversation also took us to the northern community of Peace River.

Located a stone’s throw from the mighty Peace River, it’s no surprise that the discussion came with the reminder that water issues in northern Alberta can be different than in the southern part of our province.

Water management was the biggest topic of conversation. Some participants pointed out that although the Peace is a huge source of water, we need to better understand the river’s full potential. Others wondered about possibly transferring water to the booming Grande Prairie area.

Minister Diana McQueen was again on hand to listen to the discussion.

Peace River

In attendance: 13

Healthy lakes

  • Good riparian area management needed
  • Should have over-arching approach and oversight for lake management
  • Will government take leadership role for lakes – comprehensive framework?
  • Too few people taking care of too many lakes
  • Look at lakes as a resource in the same way that mountains are a resource
  • Use science as basis for decisions
  • Important to maintain the recreation capacity of lakes

Drinking water and wastewater

  • Question about costs of regionalization
  • Reward small municipalities that upgrade water systems
  • Municipalities need financial help to implement full cost accounting approach
  • Is there a ranking of water priorities?
  • Water’s primary use is for drinking
  • Conservation, caring for water systems is essential
  • Water is for everyone
  • Aboriginals must be included in water conversation
  • Need planning but also need support
  • Need to employ more innovative techniques for wastewater
  • Applaud the government for starting the water conversation; need to follow through
  • Pay more attention to status of rivers

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Need for transparent, easy-to-understand information and a discussion of the risks
  • What is impact on groundwater table, domestic water supplies?
  • Late in addressing concerns about impacts of fracturing
  • Concerns about safety of fracturing given issues in U.S.
  • Economic activity cannot be at the expense of the environment
  • Moving too quickly with fracturing without considering water use – question of balance

Water management

  • Is it an issue of water quantity or quality?
  • Comment that we don’t understand water management issues
  • Issues are different in north than south
  • Need to assess state of water resources to make better-informed decisions
  • Questions of transferring water to accommodate fast-growing Grande Prairie
  • Concerns it is inevitable that water will be transferred north to south
  • Concern about water markets – water is not a commodity
  • If you use water you must return it to original state
  • We need a better understanding of water use
  • How does water conversation connect with regional planning?
  • Government should have oversight function not industry, be regulator.
  • Clear distinction between management of water for drinking and management of water for industryCover of the Water Conversation guide

If you’re unable to attend a community session in person, we encourage you to learn more through the conversation guide and provide your feedback through the online workbook.

Upcoming Sessions

Thursday, February 21
Hinton Centre
965 Switzer Drive

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