Water Conversation: Red Deer and Fort McMurray

Residents shared their experiences and ideas at the Water Conversations in Red Deer and Fort McMurray on March 14.  Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations and Red Deer-South MLA, Call Dallas and Minister of Accountability, Transparency and Transformation and Fort McMurray-Conklin MLA, Don Scott, also participated in the conversations, which produced great feedback.

Here’s a summary of what was said.

Red Deer

In attendance: 72

Healthy Lakes

  • The entire watershed needs to be considered
  • Increase the collaboration of stakeholders, government departments and users
  • Need more education and awareness to help all Albertans understand the impact they have on the health of lakes and the actions they can take to improve
  • Lakes should be managed locally, but include provincial standards for septic systems and setbacks

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • System is working, do not fix what isn’t broken
  • No to privatization, water should not be sold for profit or managed by third parties
  • Regionalization should take into account the different needs of the regions
  • Forward thinking and long-term planning is needed

Hydraulic fracturing

  • What are the long-term impacts; should development be slowed down until there is more information?
  • Is baseline testing adequate enough to fully understand the current state?
  • More information needs to be shared – concerns that information is being withheld, would like more communication between industry and landowners
  • Concerns that landowners will have fewer options under the single regulator

Water management

  • Water that remains in the water cycle should be treated differently than water that is lost
  • Water is not a commodity, unused allocations should be evaluated and reallocated
  • Regional planning and management could be enhanced

Fort McMurray

In attendance: 10

Healthy Lakes

  • Education and awareness needed on impacts of human activity on lakes
  • Watershed management is essential to ensuring healthy lakes.
  • A blanket lake management policy would not necessarily reflect the uniqueness of individual lakes

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Learn from other jurisdictions to streamline standards and systems
  • Stringent conservation needed to accommodate population growth
  • More resources needed for treatment facilities
  • ‘User-pay’ policy could be beneficial

Hydraulic fracturing

  • More information and understanding around the topic
  • Be proactive and cautious about dealing with issue
  • Public confidence required
  • Connectivity of watershed
  • Increase monitoring of oil and gas operating needs

Water management

  • Optimizing high peak flows by increasing storage capacity
  • Overarching policy needed
  • Collaborative and collective response between common groups
  • Transparency and open data needed for future planning

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.

Tues, March 19
Jurassic Inn
1103 Hwy #9 South
5 – 8 p.m.
Wed, March 20
Marriot Courtyard Calgary Airport
2500 – 48 Avenue NE
5 – 8 p.m.
Thurs, March 21
Radisson Hotel & Conf Centre
511 Bow Valley Trail
5 – 8 p.m.
Wed, April 3
Fort Chipewyan
Location TBA

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