Water Conversation: Camrose and Pincher Creek

Week two of the Water Conversation kicked off with sessions in Camrose and Pincher Creek.

Local MLA and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Verlyn Olson attended the Camrose session. Once again, participants from the general public, water groups and stakeholders brought some great discussion points and ideas to the table.  Here is some of what they had to say:

Photo of Minister Olson giving opening remarks at the Camrose session

Minister Verlyn Olson at the Camrose session.

Camrose

In attendance: 44

Healthy lakes

  • Look at whole watershed system – this will lead to healthy lakes
  • A one-size-fits policy is inappropriate – a new framework would need flexibility and should be based in science
  • Government needs to increase resources to ensure capacity to effectively manage lakes
  • Concern about adding another level to decision-making process

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Education and conservation needed
  • People need to focus on the value of water – conserve
  • Need to charge full cost
  • Regional approach has potential
  • Important to look to current innovations, such as natural ways to treat wastewater
  • Also important to realize that decisions by other levels of government can add significant costs to municipalities

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Force greater efficiency with water use for industry
  • Regulator must have teeth and be separate from industry
  • Education and transparency needed
  • Need to ensure that baseline monitoring is done before drilling occurs. This will help to ensure no contamination happens
  • Monitoring must be effective and information must be analyzed

Water management

  • Focus on efficient use
  • What can we learn from nature about water management?
  • Management system needs to be looked at
  • Important to strike a balance between efficient and effective – ensure that economic factors do not override environmental factors
  • Water is something we borrow, but don’t own
  • Come up with strategies to deal with scarcity – start there
  • Ensure reuse is part of overall strategy
Photo of the drinking water session display

Drinking water and wastewater display

Pincher Creek

In attendance: 28

Healthy lakes

  • Questions regarding current approaches and value of provincial framework versus local authority decision-making
  • Different lakes in different parts of province; no single approach
  • Invasive species affect lake health, not just algae
  • Exercise stewardship mindset, look at from watershed perspective, not lake-by-lake
  • Involve everyone who needs to be involved
  • Enforcement: need resources to back up regulations

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Policy decisions must consider costs to all; acknowledge burdens placed on rural users versus urban
  • Shared geographic management; find efficiencies
  • Flexibility to meet local realities, meet needs of local communities
  • Incentives to conserve water
  • People need to be priority, have access to clean water

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Water is the mot important thing, has to have priority over oil and gas
  • Protect existing water wells
  • More research required regarding groundwater sources, including saline sources
  • People uncomfortable not knowing what resources are underground, where and how they move
  • Proceed with caution
  • Need to understand it is safe – and prove to the public it is safe
  • Looking for regulations, enforcement, accountability, compensation if something happens
  • People want complete disclosure of chemicals used; what is going in and what comes out
  • Non-biased, concise information; what is process?

Water management

  • Frustration over repeating same concerns to various consultative government processes; perceived as lack of awareness of information previously given
  • Water storage: need more reservoirs, dams; also more appropriate land-use in headwaters to protect watersheds
  • Transfer system: make it clearer, easier to understand, especially re trans-license holders
  • Conserve more water, including more promotion of ethics, general education
  • People want clarity on allocation transfers, end-use
  • River-up decision-making system; strong local voices, less centralization

Upcoming Sessions

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

We also invite you to join the conversation online by following us on Twitter or using the #abwater hashtag.

Wed, February 27
Edmonton
Ramada Inn & Conf Centre
11834 Kingsway Avenue
Wed, February 27
Okotoks
Centennial Centre
4 – 204 Community Way
Thurs, February 28
Bonnyville
Willow Prairie Hall
Hwy 41 & Hwy 55 (near La Corey)
Thurs, February 28
Lethbridge
Lethbridge Lodge & Conf Centre
320 Scenic Drive

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