Water Conversation: Calgary

The Water Conversation tour stopped in Alberta’s largest city last night.  Representatives from Idle No More, Council of Canadians, Raging Grannies, and the Green Party joined Calgarians and First Nations to discuss the future of our water. 

If you’re unable to attend a community session in person, we encourage you to learn more about the four priority topics in the conversation guide and provide your feedback through the online workbook before April 12.

Here’s a summary of what was discussed in Calgary.


In attendance: 122

Healthy lakes

  • Focus on holistic watershed management approach 
  • More education needed on public’s role in maintaining lake ecosystem health
  • Need consistent regulatory framework – too many plans, but they not consistent or comprehensive 
  • Should be subset clauses for developments – grandfathering should not always be automatic 
  • Public-private partnerships (P3s) not good tool for lake management
  • Idea of a provincial water body to regulate lakes was discussed 
  • First Nations lake use rights need to be respected
  • Concerns about water quality, nutrient flow
  • Enforcement needs more ‘teeth’
  • Incentives recommended for good stewardship

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Users should pay, both with respect to pollution (should pay to clean it up) and with respect to taking water out of the system 
  • Need equitable access to fresh drinking water for all Albertans
  • Government should manage these systems, not privatize them
  • More collaboration needed among all levels of government 
  • More First Nations consultations needed
  • Education is important – need to educate public about the effects of particular water use choices

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Place a higher value on water use (companies should pay more for use) and increase penalties 
  • Groundwater mapping – more progress needed 
  • Call for a moratorium on fracking (some wanted a moratorium until we have Baseline data, others until we have better technology, others indefinitely)
  • Stop the use of freshwater for fracturing operations
  • Monitoring should be made mandatory for deep well operations 
  • Need more information on how the single regulator will operate 
  • More First Nations consultation needed; rights should be respected

Water management

  • Water storage and quality are important issues and will become even more important with future climate change:  we must plan for the future now
  • We need to measure to manage water – need better measurement tools for groundwater, etc.
  • Need to ensure transparency and accessibility of data 
  • Better use of grey water, storm water needed 
  • Wetlands management an important component of water management 
  • Confirmation of government’s commitment to not sell our water
  • FITFIR should be on the table
  • More First Nations consultations needed; rights should be respected 

Upcoming Sessions

Join the conversation online by following us on Twitter or using the #abwater hashtag.

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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