Edmonton Journal - March 7

Since 1993, the province has used an interim wetland policy that covered the "settled" area of Alberta. There has been no formal policy covering wetlands in the unsettled areas, though the impact of industrial projects is covered through approvals from Alberta Environment. The final policy, expected soon, will require companies to compensate for wetlands that are lost in the process of development, but it's not known how much compensation the government will demand. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

Calgary Herald - March 5

As the Alberta government considers ideas to deal with the province's deepening water woes, Environment Minister Rob Renner says he will hold public consultations on options to revamp the system later this year. In the meantime, Renner said he has appointed David Percy, dean of the faculty law at the University of Alberta, to lead and assemble a group to advise the government. The minister will also draw on work from the Alberta Water Council and the Alberta Water Research Institute, organizations that are both working on reports about water allocation.

Renner added he and his staff will study what has been done in other jurisdictions, as well as consulting directly with First Nations leaders. "Come August or September, I'll have enough of an idea on the direction we want to go that we'll put together a document that will then become the focus of public

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Calgary Herald - March 4

With increasing water demands, the town of Okotoks is about two years away from maxing out its licence for what it can draw from the Sheep River. With the 20,000-person town planning on another 10,000 residents by 2017, it is looking to both conserve water and find new sources. "We're at the point where we have to aggressively go pursue additional licensing,"said Dave Robertson, the town's operations manager. "There's groundwater sources that we can look to, if there's water sharing agreements, if there was a market to purchase additional licensing...there's a number of different initiatives that we're looking at".

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Brooks Bulletin - March 2

City businesses and residents may have to start seriously figuring out how to conserve water. Although the city has applied for a licence to divert additional water to meet needs until 2024, the full license may not be approved. 

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Government of Alberta News Release - March 2

Bill 19, the Land Assembly Project Area Act, was introduced in the Alberta legislature. The proposed legislation enables government to designate land for major large-scale infrastructure projects related to transportation, utilities and water management, and to regulate future development within an approved project area, with the understanding that the land will ultimately be purchased by the Province. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

AEDA - March 1

The Alberta Economic Development Authority has just publicly released a study on water in Alberta. The objective of this study was to research, develop and deliver a scoping document that identifies, examines and compares the current status of water characteristics, markets and issues facing Alberta across each of its major water basins, and how these are affecting sustainable economic development. In addition, some recommendations and next steps were identified. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Oilweek Magazine - March 1

Oilweek Magazine's feature article this month, titled The “new” oil, by Melanie Collison. Water—its use, reuse and conservation— has become almost as important to Alberta’s economic future as oil. Click here to read more.


 

 

 

 

Calgary Herald - March 1

Hearings are expected to begin Thursday aimed at reconciling conflicting reports linking oilsands operations to damage and risk to the vast, connected water basins of the Athabasca and Mackenzie rivers-- the source of one-fifth of Canada's fresh water. Montreal-area Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia says MPs also need to clarify the federal government's role as an arbiter in potential disputes among provincial and territorial governments over future water shortages or damages. The water basins span about 20 per cent of Canada's land mass, spilling across three provinces and two territories: Alberta, B. C., Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Yukon. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

Money CNN - February 27

Chevron Technology Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of energy giant Chevron is considering investing in a technology to clean up polluted water at Canadian oil fields. The company is currently reviewing a potential investment in water technology and an announcement is likely in coming weeks. Rather than simply giving a start-up company cash and waiting for a return, Chevron tends to form partnerships with many of the companies, in some cases inviting the company to work with Chevron scientists to solve problems such as scaling up production. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Leduc Representative - February 27

The Village of New Sarepta is taking neighbourly behaviour to a whole new level this month. Construction is already underway on a pipeline to send water from New Sarepta to the nearby village of Hay Lakes, which is facing a critical water shortage. The 14-kilometre pipeline will supply Hay Lakes with New Sarepta water until a regional pipeline, which will supply Edmonton water to several communities along Highway 21, is completed sometime this summer. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Grain News - February 26

The map shows soil moisture levels heading into the winter. That's what you have in your soil right now. Most of Alberta is still dry, including the usually well-watered central corridor from Calgary to Edmonton. Once again much of western Saskatchewan and Alberta will have to rely on timely rains during the big water use period of about June 10 to July 20. Most of the province is dry due to the lack of rain before the ground froze in the fall, explains Ralph Wright, a Soil Moisture Specialist with ARD. In southern Alberta, soil moisture is low along the foothills between Calgary and the U.S. border, and through the northern portion of Vulcan and Newell Counties. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Pincher Creek Echo - February 23

The tough economic climate is making councillors at the Town of Pincher Creek seriously consider a regional water strategy with its neighbours in the Municipal District of Pincher Creek and Village of Cowley. Town council is yet to make a decision on whether to share its water treatment facility. 

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Edmonton Journal - February 21

An examination of stream and creek crossings built by forestry and oilpatch companies revealed problems with 44 per cent of them, Alberta Environment says. The inspection of 97 sites was conducted last August in the Edson and Hinton areas. As a result, Shell Canada, Talisman Energy, and West Fraser Mills were ordered to fix the problems. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Edmonton Journal - February 21

An examination of stream and creek crossings built by forestry and oilpatch companies revealed problems with 44 per cent of them, Alberta Environment says. The inspection of 97 sites was conducted last August in the Edson and Hinton areas. As a result, Shell Canada, Talisman Energy, and West Fraser Mills were ordered to fix the problems. 

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Edmonton Journal - February 18

New and tougher rules for water use in the oilsands are being proposed by the Energy Resource Conservation Board in response to growing public concerns. Draft regulations, to be released today, call for in-situ operators -- which use water and steam to push deep bitumen deposits to the surface -- to limit their use of fresh water to 10 per cent of volume and up to 25 per cent of brackish water (if no fresh water is used) from saline groundwater in their operations. The balance must come from recycling. As well, improved measurement and formal reporting will be required, all subject to inspections and enforcement by the ERCB and Alberta Environment. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Rocky View Weekly - February 17

The MD of Rocky View may soon address the chronic water contamination that has kept Bragg Creek under a boil-water advisory for years. The breakthrough could come in the form of a recently announced joint provincial/federal grant. Under the Building Canada Fund, the MD could receive a maximum of $6 million. Together with $4.1 million already allocated by a provincial infrastructure program Rocky View would have the necessary $10 million to build water and waste water infrastructure. 

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Slave Lake Journal - February 10

Alberta Environment has 120 compliance officers split between the Northern, Central and Southern regions of the province. However, monitoring water across Alberta uses a “multi-party” approach. This basically means the government relies on industry and the public to help them monitor water pollution. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Slave Lake Journal - February 10

The Slave River hydro project, if it ever gets off the ground, would be a key part of a NWT-wide hydro power resource exporting energy to southern markets. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Calgary Herald - February 5

Alberta Environment is investigating the discharge of hundreds of thousands of litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca river from an oilsands plant's cooling water retention pond. The exact quantity isn't known, because it's not clear when the water began exceeding environmental standards for oil and grease. Alberta Environment spokesman Jason Cobb said Suncor Energy realized it had a problem when sample results came in early Tuesday. The approved allowable discharge is five parts per million of oil and grease, and the company had readings ranging from 0.02 ppm to 42 ppm. The water is runoff from the operations site, as well as cooling water. It is not tailings water. Suncor and AENV are testing downstream water to make sure there are no issues resulting from the discharge. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

Rocky View Weekly - February 3

The MD of Rocky View has broken off negotiations with EPCOR for the construction of a water system for east Balzac. Rocky View said the decision was the result of an assessment of the long-term financial impact of an agreement with EPCOR Water Services Inc. In spite of the impasse, municipal officials said they are confident the MD will be able to have water running when a large Balzac mall currently under construction opens its doors in August. 

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Government of Alberta News Release - February 3

Directive 074: Tailings Performance Criteria and Requirements for Oil Sands Mining Schemes requires operators to: (i) Prepare tailings plans and report on tailings ponds annually; (ii) Reduce the accumulation of fluid tailings by capturing fines and placing them in a deposit that is trafficable and, (iii) Specify dates for construction, use and closure of fluid tailings ponds deposits and file these dates with the ERCB by September 30, 2009. “Tailings” is a term used to describe waste from oil sands extraction processes. This waste is generally composed of water, sands, silt, clay and residual bitumen. Alberta’s inventory of fluid fine tailings that require long term containment is now 720 million cubic metres. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Western Economic Diversification Canada and Alberta Transportation - January 30

Under the Canada-Alberta Building Canada Fund - Communities Component, the federal and provincial governments provide up to two-thirds of the funding for eligible project costs. Partnering municipalities provide the remaining project funding. The projects announced today will improve local roads, water, wastewater, cultural and green energy infrastructure. Click here to read more.


 

 

 

 

Alberta Environment - January 26

After issuing a yellow, low flow warning for the Athabasca River last week, recent measurements indicate water levels have returned to the normal range. Measurements taken on January 21 indicated that levels had returned to the green or normal flow rate, when a reading of 168 m3 per second was taken. While a green condition allows for normal operations, Alberta Environment will continue to monitor the situation closely, and encourages users to be watchful of the flow condition and their withdrawals. While it is not uncommon for flow rates to vary on a weekly basis through the year, they tend to be steadier through the winter. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

Edmonton Journal - January 22

City council voted 7-6 vote Wednesday to approve the sale of the Gold Bar sewage treatment plant to Epcor. Under the deal, Epcor says it will give the city $75 million over seven years, plus an additional $115 million in dividends by 2018. The city-owned utility expects the transfer will provide it with the expertise needed to boost its business managing sewage systems.  Click here to read more.

 

 

 

Edmonton Journal - January 22

Fewer trees will die to make the streams of paper used by the City of Edmonton once a new eco-friendly recycling facility opens in two years. The plant, to be built and operated by Greys Paper Recycling, will turn waste paper, cardboard, old cotton cloth and blue jeans into 100-per-cent recycled writing paper and paper products in a process that uses no chemicals and one- twentieth the water used by traditional paper mills. The city has entered into a partnership with Greys Recycling, which will see 40 million sheets of waste office paper it produces yearly turned into recycled paper products for sale back to the city. Click here to read more.