Some of Alberta’s brightest youth are lending their voices and providing new and innovative ideas to the water conversation.
In March, an 18-member Youth Advisory Panel was appointed to provide feedback to the Government of Alberta on proposed strategies and legislation. Their first task is to examine the four priority topics of the Water Conversation: healthy lakes, hydraulic fracturing, water management, and drinking and wastewater systems.
The panel of 16-22 year olds represents a variety of backgrounds and experiences. All of the members are passionate, engaged in their community, and have a common goal of improving the condition of our province.
Recently, the panel spent a Saturday afternoon with Minister McQueen discussing the sustainability and viability of our water resources.
During the meeting, the group explored ways youth can become advocates and stewards for water management. They suggested that conservation education should be mandatory in classrooms as a way to inform students of the scarcity of global clean water resources and teach them how to reduce water waste here at home.
While discussing the topic of healthy lakes, the youth emphasized the many important ecosystem services that lakes provide, including providing water for rural industry and farming, and the many recreational opportunities that lakes support, such as canoeing, swimming and fishing.
Thoughts were also shared on hydraulic fracturing, including a call-out for increased awareness of potential environmental impacts of the activity, sound research on groundwater protection, and the group’s thoughts on a tax on freshwater to decrease its use.
The panel also discussed the issue of equal access to drinking water for all Albertans. They also felt Alberta should limit bottled water production and use.
We are very pleased to have the Youth Advisory Panel participate in the Water Conversation. Participants will provide further contributions to the dialogue about water use in the province throughout the year before presenting their findings to panel chair, Matt Jeneroux, MLA for Edmonton-South West.