Water Conversation: Canmore

Canmore residents braved snow and icy roads to join the Water Conversation on March 21 to share their thoughts on Alberta’s water future. It was a positive session with great conversation and insightful feedback.

Although we only have one last community conversation, Fort Chipewyan on April 3, we still 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 Canmore residents had to say.


In attendance: 14

Healthy Lakes

  • A provincial framework for lakes would be good, but it must interface with regional plans and watershed guidance
  • Need holistic, integrated approach that incorporates entire watersheds, reservoirs, and ecosystems
  • Mandatory setbacks should be established for lakeshore developments
  • Wastewater management in areas around lakes a recurring issue
  • General lack of enforcement is an issue
  • Concerns about proposal to manage with P3s, particularly with respect to monitoring; government should monitor to ensure transparency
  • Stewardship groups should be utilized, given more funding and training

Drinking and wastewater systems

  • Equitable supply of drinking water for all Albertans should be a top priority
  • Ecological approach to service delivery – the most ecologically friendly approach, not the most economic one, is the best
  • Geographic approach is good, as long as it incorporates regional watersheds and the flexibility to deal with local issues
  • Systems should be scalable for communities of different sizes
  • Protect the quantity and quality of source waters
  • Regional planning should be integrated across government
  • Need more monitoring and enforcement around wells, septic systems to ensure security of groundwater
  • Water conservation and recycling should be a priority
  • Geographic systems should be made available for First Nations

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Need a provincial groundwater strategy, applied regionally
  • Need objective education, messages, and messengers
  • Potential for a provincial ombudsman role
  • Transparency is important, particularly with regard to risk
  • Property owners should be compensated for the disruption of aquifers on their land
  • Conversation about fracturing needs to happen between adults
  • Role for synergy groups
  • Pace of fracturing developments should not exceed pace of base, monitoring system developments
  • Take a conservative approach to water use in fracturing – appreciate that water is a finite resource

Water management

  • Water storage a main issue – need better management of this, particularly in light of climate change
  • Need to adjust allocation system – the current system decreases efficiency while increasing risk and uncertainty for users
  • Allocation system should incorporate public good assessments of use
  • In-stream flow should meet aquatic ecosystem demand
  • Need to integrate, not duplicate, existing ‘people infrastructure’ (WPACs, lake stewardship groups)
  • It’s not that we face a lack of water management information – we have more information than ever before. Challenge is to share information and establish collective understanding, decision-making, and accountability.

Upcoming Sessions

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

Wed, April 3
Fort Chipewyan
Location TBA, details will be posted on our website.

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