Market Watch - March 9th

A World Plumbing Day survey from the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating reveals many Canadians are overusing instead of conscientiously conserving with respect to water consumption in the home

World Plumbing Day, Sunday, March 11, shines a spotlight on the role that plumbing and water play in our health and safety while emphasizing the importance of water conservation. However, a World Plumbing Day survey1 commissioned by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) , a not-for-profit trade association representing Canada's manufacturers and wholesaler distributors of plumbing and hydronic heating products, reveals that Canadians are still overindulging when it comes to conservation of water in the home - and in more interesting ways than you would think. ... Click here to read more.


CBC News - March 6th


A review of how a major Saskatchewan dam handled flooding last year says changes are needed to prevent similar problems in future — including adding more water gauges.

The 117-page University of Saskatchewan report released Tuesday was commissioned by the minister responsible for the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority in response to flooding that inundated some farmers' property downstream of the Gardiner Dam. ... Click here to read more.


Calgary Herald - March 2nd

The continued expansion of the oilsands in Alberta and other energy-and infrastructurerelated projects across Canada is driving heightened demand for water scientists and engineers, according to one of the largest global employers of these specialized professionals.

"The water market . . . is inextricably linked to energy," says Bob Weinschrott, vice-president of industrial water and process for CH2M Hill Canada. "We see very high demand. It's hard to hire people with a strong water specialization just because everybody is so busy.

In Western Canada . . . one of the things driving development is oilsands, which is very water-intensive." ... Click here to read more.


Associated Press - March 2nd

Thousands of Texas rice farmers won't get water for irrigation this year because lakes and rivers remain low after more than a year of drought.

The Lower Colorado River Authority said Friday it won't release water from two Austin-area lakes into the rivers and canals the farmers use for irrigation. The announcement was expected, but notable as the first time in the authority's history that it won't provide the water.

Texas is one of the six largest rice producers in the country, and the farmers in the Colorado River basin make up almost three-quarters of the state's total rice acreage. But without irrigation, many farmers will be able to plant only a fraction of the rice they usually grow, and some won't plant any. ... Click here to read more. - March 2nd

Probably the most important long-term issue facing Nanaimo's current mayor and council is the need to secure sufficient sources of drinkable water for a growing population.

To avoid expensive, interminable, and unpredictable court proceedings, part of resolving this issue means the city needs to work out an arrangement with the Snuneymuxw First Nation, either locally or with the provincial government. Mayor John Ruttan is right to seek an agreement rather than a fight.

Nanaimo has enough water to supply a population of 100,000 at current usage rates, and we should reach that population in about 10 years. ... Click here to read more.


Canada Newswire - March 1st

Canada's oil sands producers have formed a new alliance, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA), focused on accelerating the pace of improving environmental performance in Canada's oil sands.

Chief executive officers of 12 companies have signed the alliance's founding charter, committing to COSIA's vision to "enable responsible and sustainable growth of Canada's oil sands while delivering accelerated improvement in environmental performance through collaborative action and innovation." ... Click here to read more.


Edmonton Journal - March 1st

In this province, spending energy on water surely must be seen as at least as valuable as the reverse.

Unlike oilsands bitumen, water is a partially renewable resource, but our fresh reserves are under intensifying pressure from booming industry and nation-leading population growth and it is well past time for our deepest thinkers to form a strategy that will provoke responsible governmental policy on preservation and recycling.

If, as some fear, the Redford government is prepared to embrace the concept of a provincewide water market as a means of regulation, it must also address the resulting commodification and potential for a damaging increase in demand. ... Click here to read more.


Globe & Mail - February 28th 2012

It looks a bit like a terracotta flowerpot sitting in a white plastic pail. But the CeraMaji water filter does much more than look nice on a windowsill – it saves lives.

This modest vessel cleans drinking water of the contaminants that cause diarrheal disease, a leading cause of pediatric death in Third World countries.

It’s the brainchild of a dedicated group of University of Alberta students who took the innovation from hypothesis to sustainable, non-profit organization. Since introducing the CeraMaji filter with the Kenya Ceramics Project in 2007, they’ve now got a factory in Kiminini that employs 10 Kenyans and is producing 400 filters per month to sell to the people of Kenya and Uganda. ... Click here to read more.


Digital Journal - February 28th

The prairies' experience in handling inter-provincial conflicts over water-use may point the way to success in the Mackenzie River Basin, according to a report released today by the C.D. Howe Institute. In Resolving Water-Use Conflicts: Insights from the Prairie Experience for the Mackenzie River Basin, law professor David Percy says a cooperative approach led the prairie provinces to a basic agreement on water sharing that works; and a similar approach could help kick-start progress in the more complex issues facing the Mackenzie River Basin.

"It's been 40 years since governments starting talking about a water-sharing agreement for the Mackenzie Basin," said Professor Percy of the University of Alberta. "A generation later, a growing population and rapid development associated with the oil sands and other industries, especially in the Peace-Athabasca


Global News - February 28th

The federal Conservatives are poised to again introduce legislation providing for safe drinking water in First Nations communities.

Federal and First Nations sources say Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan will make an announcement in Calgary on Wednesday. He'll be accompanied by Alberta chiefs who support the new bill.

While everyone involved wants clean water on reserves, the government has had a hard time getting agreement on how to achieve that goal. ... Click here to read more. - February 14th

Alberta’s new environment and water minister says long-awaited public discussions on a system for divvying up southern Alberta’s scarce water resources will be coming in 2012.

The newly appointed Diana McQueen, who represents Drayton Valley-Calmar, said public consultations on water — and southern Alberta’s current market for buying and selling limited water licences — is one of the top priorities in the new portfolio.

In an interview, McQueen said she wants the consultations to lead to improvements to what she describes as an already solid system that feeds agriculture, cities, towns and industry in the most populated region of the province.

“We’ve got a system that’s worked very well over the last 100 years,” McQueen said. “We want to make sure we are not throwing the baby out with the bath water.” ... Click here to read more.



The plan includes:
"$145 million in capital and operating support for Water for Life Strategy"
"$2.3 billion in municipal transportation & water infrastructure grants"
To read the official Alberta Environment and Water document click here.



Oye! Times - February 6th

In the 2010 paper entitled “Oil sands development contributes elements toxic at low concentrations to the Athabasca River and its tributaries", Dr. David Schindler of the University of Alberta examines the issue of priority pollutants (PPEs) that are impacting the Athabasca watershed. These PPEs include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, selenium and zinc among others. Here are a few salient points from the study for your illumination. As a side note, I have a particular affinity for the Athabasca region; during the late 1970s, I spent four months working in the area and developed a great fondness for its aboriginal community. ... Click here to read more.


Vancouver Observer - February 6th

Environment Minister Peter Kent joined Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Water Diana McQueen today to announce a new strategy for scientific monitoring of oil sands operations, but environmentalists say the government’s plans fail to address a few key issues.

During a press conference held at the University of Alberta, Ministers Kent and McQueen introduced the joint federal-provincial plan as a “world class, science-based” program for collecting and analyzing environmental data.
“This comprehensive, shared program optimizes already-existing provincial and federal environmental monitoring for water, air and biodiversity, and is being carried out in an efficient manner as we utilize current infrastructure that is in place. But it also goes well beyond that—we will be monitoring in more places, more frequently, for more substances,” said Kent.
During a

Government of Alberta - February 6th

Increased air, water, land and biodiversity monitoring in the oil sands will begin this year as the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta take a major step forward in their partnership to improve environmental monitoring in the oil sands region.
The Joint Canada-Alberta Implementation Plan for Oil Sands Monitoring commits to a scientifically rigorous, comprehensive, integrated, and transparent environmental monitoring program for the region. It outlines the path forward to enhance the monitoring of water, air, land and biodiversity in the oil sands by demonstrating how we will sample more sites for more substances more frequently. The program is designed to provide an improved understanding of the long-term cumulative effects of oil sands development.
Increased air, water, land and biodiversity monitoring in the oil sands will begin this year

The Record Gazette - February 6th

Peace River Environmental Society has received $19,000 so it can be represented in the upcoming hearings on the proposed Site C Dam project.
The environmental group based out of Peace River, is one of eight groups that received a total of $141,615 in funding from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency so as to be part of the upcoming environmental review.
Peace River Environmental Society has received $19,000 so it can be represented in the upcoming hearings on the proposed Site C Dam project.
The environmental group based out of Peace River, is one of eight groups that received a total of $141,615 in funding from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency so as to be part of the upcoming environmental review. ... Click here to read more.



Nanton News - January 31st

Nanton Town council voted not to participate in a regional water system being developed by the Municipal District (MD) of Foothills and the Town of High River.

Chief Administrative Officer told council that he, Mayor John Blake and Coun. Bill Szabon had met with representatives from the MD of Foothills and the Town of High River regarding the proposed water system.

Although the opportunity was first presented to them in December, the MD has since notified the Town that it needs a response by Feb. 2 as to whether Nanton will participate in the project. ... Click here to read more.


The Globe and Mail - January 31st

Canada’s energy industry, under pressure to prove that its drilling techniques do not contaminate water, is setting environmental reporting guidelines for natural gas companies in a bid to dampen concerns about hydraulic fracturing.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers is focusing on so-called fracking as regulators, landowners and green groups increasingly highlight the risks of dirtying aquifers with dangerous chemicals. Natural gas and other toxins, critics charge, have leaked into water sources as the energy industry drills deep for rich reserves of gas and oil.

In response to the criticism, the energy lobby group on Monday released six “operating principles” it expects natural gas companies to follow, while disclosing a swath of information about their drilling processes. ... Click here to read more.


Winnipeg Free Press - January 31st

A small town south of Calgary has lost a round in its battle against celebrity builder Mike Holmes' plan for an environmentally-sustainable neighbourhood just outside its boundary.

Alberta's Municipal Government Board has rejected an appeal by the town of Okotoks that the Wind Walk project in the municipal district of Foothills would be detrimental to the community.

Holmes says in a news release that the 458-residential-unit development strives to generate as much energy as it uses.

The town argues the neighbourhood would strain its limited water sources, as well as other municipal services. ... Click here to read more.


Newswire - January 16th

Clark Builders was ordered to pay $285,000 in Alberta Provincial Court after pleading guilty to one count under the Fisheries Act. This relates to the release of approximately 12 million litres of chlorinated water into the North Saskatchewan River following the striking of a water main during a construction project on July 20, 2009. Sample analysis of the chlorinated water determined that it was harmful to fish. The North Saskatchewan River has the highest diversity of fish species of any river in Alberta, including burbot, mountain whitefish, walleye, sauger, and other species... Click here to read more.


The Leduc Rep - January 16th

In 2010, in the wake of a dry spell, Leduc County decided to conduct a water survey to find out what residents were in need of in terms of water resources.

Few responses came back and after a very wet spring, interest seemed to have dried up. But according to Garrett Broadbent, director of agricultural services for Leduc County, responses from that kind of survey could still be useful.

"When it was really dry in the summer of 2010, we had a number of people phoning us because (at) the recreational lakes people weren't allowed to pump any water out of there," recalled Broadbent. ... Click here to read more.


Alberta Environment - January 16th

Alberta Environment and Water has released the Water for Life Progress Report: December 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011. The report highlights a selection of the activities, programs, and tools being pursued under the Water for Life strategy. Click here to read the report.


Edmonton Journal - January 12th

A lack of snow this winter is raising concern for Alberta's agriculture industry.

"We need snow and we need it badly," Agriculture Minister Evan Berger said Wednesday.

In his Nanton-area constituency, wildfires fanned by wind along snow-free grasslands destroyed homes and farm buildings last week.

"In southern Alberta, it's serious in the water front. We've never lost a crop before in January, but we do need that replenishment," Berger said. ... To read more click here.


NRT - January 12

The National Round Table on Environment and the Economy hosted forum on water today. A webcast was made available and can be viewed here.


Waterworld - January 12

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 11, 2012 -- A new report from the National Research Council says that, with recent advances in technology and design, treating municipal wastewater and reusing it for drinking water, irrigation, industry, and other applications could significantly increase the nation's total available water resources, particularly in coastal areas facing water shortages.

It adds that the reuse of treated wastewater, also known as reclaimed water, to augment drinking water supplies has significant potential for helping meet future needs. Moreover, new analyses suggest that the possible health risks of exposure to chemical contaminants and disease-causing microbes from wastewater reuse do not exceed, and in some cases may be significantly lower than, the risks of existing water supplies. ... Click here to read more.