Water Conversation: Fort Chipewyan

Earlier this month, residents of Fort Chipewyan joined the final community Water Conversation to share their thoughts on how water should be managed for the future. Here is a summary of what they had to say.

Fort Chipewyan

Attendees: 14, including representatives of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and the Mikisew Cree First Nation

Healthy lakes

  • It’s important to speak with local people, who understand what’s happening with the water and on the land.
  • Action is needed now – it doesn’t matter which level of government completes the work – provided the work gets done.
  • Part of having healthy lakes is monitoring air emissions, which can pollute water from hundreds of kilometres away. 
  • Attendees are concerned about the impact of B.C.’s Site C dam on the health of lakes in the region.
  • Attendees are also concerned about the recent spills that have impacted lakes.

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Safe drinking water is a right for all living in Alberta.
  • Information collected about the impacts of industry on the quality of drinking water must be made available to local residents and the public.
  • Quality drinking water is important not just for the people in the region, but the fish and wildlife, as well.
  • Important that local trappers and hunters be engaged to provide input.

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Attendees were looking for clarification about what hydraulic fracturing is and whether it was occurring in the region.
  • More information is needed on the topic.

Water management

  • Participants indicated that there should be a way for polluters of Alberta’s waterway to loose their “first in time, first in right” priority.
  • Alberta’s First Nations must be consulted with about B.C.’s Site C dam project.
  • Concern expressed about the amount of water being used by industry and industrial impact on wildlife.

Next Steps

Ideas shared during community conversations, through email and online workbook submissions, will be compiled into a “what we heard” report to be released this summer.

Thank you for taking the time to join the Water Conversation.

Youth panel joins the water conversation

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. 

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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.

 

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.

Canmore

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.
 

Water Conversation: Drumheller

The Water Conversation kicked off the last week of community sessions in Drumheller on March 19. During his opening remarks, Dana Woodworth, Deputy Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, thanked participants for taking the time to influence the future of their own community and their own resource.

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.

Drumheller

In attendance: 25

Healthy lakes

  • Must maintain both quality and quantity of lakes and watersheds
  • Use all mechanisms to do this – education, monitoring, enforcement, and legislation
  • Reservoir health is important
  • Need better regulations for lakeshore developments
  • Need a consistent framework, clear authority to manage lakes province-wide – lake by lake approach is not sufficient
  • Prescriptive versus subjective approaches to management – look at both of these
  • Need greater transparency

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Need to enhance regulatory framework
  • More transparent, accessible info needed for laypeople
  • Finger-printing for aquifers, wells
  • Must use saline and low quality water sources first
  • More monitoring of groundwater, aquifers is needed
  • Government should incentivize partnerships between users to maximize efficiency of water use
  • Bottom line: we need to protect water and ecosystem health

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Conservation important – we need to use more gray water
  • More consistent monitoring and enforcement for systems that have semi-regular users (youth camps was the specific example that came up)
  • Geographic approach is acceptable as long as the focus continues to be on local realities
  • P3s are not a viable solution for delivery of these services
  • If government proposes standardized changes/upgrades, government should be responsible for costs and delivery of changes
  • Infrastructure and operating costs are different and both need to be accounted for

Water management

  • Need to protect waters in rivers – in-stream flow
  • Need to enhance water storage and consider all possible mechanisms to do this
  • Transfers – need to consider end-use (role for government to do this)
  • Incentivize conservation – this requires being able to measure usage

Upcoming Sessions

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

Wed, March 20
Calgary
Marriot Courtyard Calgary Airport
2500 – 48 Avenue NE
5 – 8 p.m.
Thurs, March 21
Canmore
Radisson Hotel & Conf Centre
511 Bow Valley Trail
5 – 8 p.m.

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

Water Conversation: Thorsby

The community of Thorsby and surrounding area turned out in large numbers to participate in the Water Conversation last night.  Local mayors and municipal representatives joined citizens for a lively discussion on the water issues that affect the region.

Minister McQueen was also on site to participate in the conversation and hear the many different perspectives.  During her closing remarks, Minister expressed her gratitude for the valuable input that will help ensure our most important resource is used safely and wisely.

Here’s a summary of what was said.

Thorsby

In attendance: 60

Healthy lakes

  • Need for long-term, unified approach
  • Science-based standards for setbacks must be consistent across the province
  • Awareness and education needed so people understand how they contribute to lake health

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Industry use of potable water needs to end
  • Emphasis on education, conservation
  • Concern about funding cuts to Water for Life and the long-term effects

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Don’t use fresh water for hydraulic fracturing
  • Industry needs to be expected to find alternative to fresh water use
  • Enforcement mechanisms need to be in place and applied consistently

Water management

  • Don’t use fresh water for uses that take it out of the water cycle
  • Inter-basin transfers are a recipe for trouble since water properties basins are different
  • The inter-relationship between ground water and surface water sources needs to be understood.  Activities in one area can impact another.

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.

Thurs, March 14
Fort McMurray
Sawridge Inn & Conf Centre
530 MacKenzie Blvd
5 – 8 p.m.
Thurs, March 14
Red Deer
iHotel (formerly Holiday Inn)
6500 – 67 Street
5 – 8 p.m.

Water Conversation: Rocky Mountain House and Slave Lake

The second leg of the Water Conversation kicked off in Rocky Mountain House and Slave Lake on March 12, where residents, local water stewards and municipal representatives came out to share their thoughts on the future of Alberta’s water.

Minister McQueen joined the table discussions in Rocky Mountain House and was pleased with the passion and input from the participants.  Here’s a summary of what they had to say.

Rocky Mountain House

In attendance: 35

Healthy lakes

  • Need to consider lake health by looking at overall health of watershed
  • Consider the source of pollutants in lakes
  • Lake health is often a local issue, often only of concern to residents or those who enjoy the area for recreation
  • Do we need umbrella group, unified and coordinated approach to address issues surrounding lake health?
  • A coordinated approach involving all the western provinces might be considered
  • Regional planning is a way to guide a provincial approach

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • General support for geographical approach but it must be responsive to local needs
  • Need more study on groundwater supplies, more monitoring, more impact assessments
  • May need to look at making greater use of grey water
  • Consider rain water capture
  • Systems and requirements may change but resources for municipalities stay the same
  • Regular testing is essential to ensure quality
  • Regulatory systems can’t be one size fits all
  • Adequate quantity and quality for all before industry or other uses
  • We have to value water to ensure future supply
  • Government role to ensure sustainability and quality and enforce standards
  • WPACs should be adequately funded for valuable study
  • More environmental monitoring
  • Ensure adequate storage
  • Ensure watershed protection

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Practice of hydraulic fracturing around a long time and plays important role in resource development
  • Conservation of fresh water a priority
  • Making industry pay will drive efficiencies
  • Questions about number of inspections, criteria for inspections, carried out annually by ERCB
  • Agriculture and industry are inter-dependent and must communicate and cooperate about land and water use
  • If industry can’t carry out its activities without the use of chemicals, it should halt proceedings until it can

Water management

  • Make it easy for people to understand what is being allocated and where
  • Consider full water cycle when making allocation decisions
  • Impact of forestry on watershed is understated – forestry impacting natural storage, impact seen in flooding
  • Education needed to change the way we use water
  • Questions about amount of water drawn by industry from aquifiers without sufficient knowledge about state of aquifier
  • Concern about water allocation hoarders, primarily Edmonton and Calgary
  • Open up conversation about allocation process
  • Need better support, funding for local water, land groups
  • Price would be effective measure to reduce consumption

Slave Lake

In attendance: 23

Healthy Lakes

  • Polluter should pay for damage
  • Lots of discussions have been had – time for action

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Include ecosystem management in school curriculum
  • Partnerships are important to source protection
  • Lots of positives to regional planning
  • Integrated management
  • Time to take action

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Albertans need more information and transparency
  • Should look for ways to use non-potable water
  • Water quality should come before economics

Water management

  • Emphasis on regional planning – listen to local knowledge
  • Protect watershed and ecosystem
  • Drinking water should not be used by industry
  • Need to take action now – we’ve talked enough
  • Start with small steps, if necessary

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, March 13
Thorsby
Thorsby Community Centre
4813 – 49 Street
5 – 8 p.m.
Thurs, March 14
Fort McMurray
Sawridge Inn & Conf Centre
530 MacKenzie Blvd
5 – 8 p.m.
Thurs, March 14
Red Deer
iHotel (formerly Holiday Inn)
6500 – 67 Street
5 – 8 p.m.

Water Conversation: Edmonton and Okotoks

 Hundreds of Albertans attended the water conversation in Edmonton and Okotoks last night.  It was great to hear so many different ideas and perspectives. 

Minister McQueen gave the closing remarks in Okotoks, where she spoke about the importance of local involvement as we work to build a 50-year plan that will benefit us, and future generations.  A number of Ministers and local MLAs joined the conversation in Edmonton; Doug Horner, Heather Klimchuk, Stephan Khan, Janice Sarich, David Dorwood and Maureen Kubinec.

Edmonton

In attendance: 186

Healthy lakes

  • Government must be prepared to make difficult decisions for the greater good – too much focus on industry
  • Need clarity about who does what when it comes to lakes
  • We already know what to do, so just do it

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Clean drinking water is a right – human use should trump industry
  • Need a strategy for funding infrastructure
  • Full cost accounting needed
  • Education about the real cost of high quality water is needed
  • Need to recognize the importance of wetlands
  • Important to use natural treatment method
  • Fluoride should not be in drinking water

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Lack of understanding of the topic
  • Want more transparency and information
  • Important to have information based in science
  • Generally liked the concept of greater monitoring and transparency for hydraulic fracturing
  • Some would like to stop hydraulic fracturing, others enjoy benefits of development
  • Ensure promotion of water conservation, and stop using fresh water

Water management

  • Water is for Albertans
  • Action needed now, not far in the future
  • Need more science-based information to make decisions
  • Full cost accounting should include costs to the environmental
  • Water management is more than just river flows – it must also include lakes, wetlands, groundwater, etc.
  • Need to look at future implications of water management, such as climate change
  • Credibility of government and industry – need to build trust

Okotoks

In attendance: 81

Healthy lakes

  • Wetlands should be included in this topic – should look at big picture of ecosystem
  • Need to look at all users of different water bodies, and different purposes; not just for irrigation or recreation
  • Better definitions of what water bodies are, what this would cover
  • Get better baseline date on what want to manage
  • Get better handle on pollutants entering lake systems
  • Appetite for provincial guidelines to create consistency, but recognize uniqueness of each region, lakes in each area are different
  • Concerns about enforcement: make sure resources in place to police
  • Need for consistency

Drinking water and wastewater systems

  • Clean water should be available to all Albertans
  • Protect sources of clean water
  • More work needed on understanding supply of water
  • Focus on wetlands, they have important role in clean water
  • Provide more management of water at watershed level
  • Concerns about inequities: access to clean water different in regions, cities versus rural
  • Allocations to industry versus allocations to people: people should have highest priority
  • Benefits to collaboration among regions, important to maintain local control over local resources
  • Need incentives to conserve, versus disincentives to not conserve

Hydraulic fracturing

  • Update conservation policy
  • Groundwater mapping important, need to continue to better understand
  • Do we understand enough about fracturing and impacts on water?
  • Encourage asking oil and gas to use more saline water
  • Encourage increasing baseline testing
  • Transparency of information, especially what is most important to know: how does it impact my well, who do I call if it does, what happens if my well becomes contaminated, who is accountable and what happens?

Water management

  • Protected water in river basins, base decisions on science
  • Storage not just human, but natural options
  • Allocation transfer systems not clear
  • Consider what watersheds use for in allocations, uses change over
  • time
  • Water conservation: incentives and rewards systems needed, think differently about water

Upcoming Sessions

The water conversation tour stops in Bonnyville and Lethbridge today and will take a break next week before resuming in SlaveLake and Rocky Mountain House on March 12.

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

Join us for a live Twitter chat on Wednesday, March 6 from 12-1:30 p.m. Send us your questions to @AENV_SRD and follow the conversation by using the #abwater hashtag.

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
Tues, March 12
Slave Lake
Slave Lake Inn & Conf Centre
1200 Main Street SW
Tues, March 12
Rocky Mountain House
Lou Soppit Community Centre
4733 – 54 Avenue

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

Water Conversation: Hinton

We had a great turnout of engaged and knowledgeable participants for Water Conversation in Hinton last night. Minister McQueen was on hand once again to speak with residents and open the session.

“Water is one of the most important conversations we can have right now,” said Minister McQueen during her opening remarks in Hinton last night. “Your input will inform policy direction, which is why we’re touring Alberta – to hear about the unique challenges in each region.”

Local MLA and Aboriginal Relations minister, Robin Campbell, also joined Minister McQueen to hear about the local issues. Here’s a summary of what was said.   

Photo of Minister McQueen at the Hinton water conversation

Minister McQueen greets water conversation participants in Hinton

Hinton

In attendance: 43

Healthy lakes

  • We want to see planning that will protect lakes for seven generations
  • Need long-term accountability
  • Need state-of-the-art enforcement
  • Need water-basin approach to lakemgmt
  • What about rivers?
  • People should be a priority over industry
  • GOA should step up if federal government is loosening or relaxing regulatory or monitoring responsibilities

Fracturing

  • Make industry accountable; make industry pay for monitoring
  • Who is regulating fracturing? How many regulators?
  • Proceed with caution and rely on the latest science
  • We need to understand the geology
  • More public information, education and clarity needed
  • Some felt survey is too vague

Drinking water

  • Conservation is most important principle
  • Water must be affordable and available to all
  • An inventory of springs is needed
  • Shared management, shared capacity within systems is good way to proceed
  • Don’t stop this conversation

Water management

  • Conservation and education is essential
  • Protection and not reaction is the correct approach treat water as commodity, bring market forces to bear which may penalize waste or incentivize conservation
  • Need more people on the ground to ensure accountability
  • Also need transparent processes
  • Listen to mother natureCover of the Water Conversation guide

Hinton was our final stop on the water conversation tour this week. We’ll be on the road again next week visiting Camrose, Edmonton and Bonnyville in the north, and Pincher Creek, Okotoks and Lethbridge in the south.

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.

 

Upcoming Sessions

Tues, February 26
Camrose
Norsemen Inn
6505 – 48 Avenue
Tues, February 26
Pincher Creek
Heritage Inn
919 Waterton Ave & Hwy 6
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