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.


Wetaskiwin Times - January 3rd 2012

A $2.73 million upgrade to Wetaskiwin's wastewater treatment facility is being touted as a shining example for the rest of the province and Canada as well.

A cheque presentation, which was a mere formality since the work for the upgrade has already taken place, was held Dec. 12 at City Hall.

Several dignitaries were in attendance including: Mayor Bill Elliot, Wetaskiwin MP Blaine Calkins and Alberta Association of Municipal Districts & Counties president Bob Barss.

One-third of the costs were covered by $910,000 in federal funding through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' Green Municipal Fund.

... Click here to read more.


Calgary Herald - November 19 

The water-strapped town of Cochrane offers a strong example of how to control residential water use with pricing, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada. The report, which looks at municipal water and waste-water systems across Canada, notes the town charges households that consume large amounts of water double the price that those using less pay per cubic metre.... Click here to read more. 


Medicine Hat News - December 6

Alberta Environment is requiring the City of Medicine Hat to construct a $30 million facility to treat discharge from its water treatment plant. Currently, the city’s water treatment process uses aluminum sulfate as a coagulant. The resulting aluminum sludge, produced as a byproduct, is discharged back into the South Saskatchewan River.

It’s a common practice that has been employed for years by most water treatment plants in the province, but the province is tightening its regulations. “What we do now is we discharge any solids and material we take out of the water directly into the receiving stream. That will now be intercepted, and pumped to this new facility,” explains Frank Wetsch, acting general manager of environmental utilities for the City of Medicine Hat. “The solids will then be (dried), pressed, and then hauled — probably to the landfill — for


Calgary Herald - November 30

The City of Calgary wants to create a new utility that would provide water to its neighbours-- as long as they're onside with long-term development plans. It means nearby communities, such as Airdrie, Cochrane, Turner Valley, Black Diamond, Irricana or Okotoks would have access to Calgary's water supply on a cost-recovery basis. But those communities not signed onto the Calgary Regional Partnership and its growth strategies--such as Rocky View County, which waged a high-profile fight to try to get water for its Cross Iron Mills mall--would be left high and dry.  Click here to read more.

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Prairie Post - November 26

Water has been a thorn between Alberta and Montana for years, but thanks to a citizen-based Joint Initiative Team a new understanding on the sharing of the waters in the St. Mary and Milk rivers has never been closer. About 20 southern Alberta irrigation district officials met with the Alberta JIT Nov. 17 at the Ramada for a negotiations update of the Montana – Alberta St. Mary and Milk Rivers Water Management Initiative.  Click here to read more.


An advisory group, appointed by the Minister of Environment, examined the effectiveness of Alberta’s allocation management system and made recommendations on improvements. The group consisted of nine world-renowned water policy academics, scientists, water-law experts and recognized industry leaders. The Alberta Water Council and Alberta Water Research Institute also recommended ways to better allocate water for social, environmental and economic needs.  Click here to read more.





Healthy aquatic ecosystems, conservation and education are priorities in the renewed Water for Life action plan. The strategy and action plan together set the direction for water management in Alberta over the next 10 years. The plan lays out the actions Alberta intends to deliver over the next decade. It includes activities Alberta committed to deliver as part of its original Water for Life strategy and incorporates new actions to address the province’s emerging water challenges and current realities. The action plan also supports regional environmental objectives and Alberta’s cumulative effects management approach.

“Thanks to the success of Water for Life to date, I think all Albertans understand the need and urgency to better manage our water supplies for our communities, environment and prosperity,” said Gord Edwards, executive director of the Alberta Water Council. “This action plan


Edmonton Journal - October 23 

The Sturgeon River Watershed Initiative is one of about 150 volunteer groups that sprang up largely after the province created a Water for Life strategy. The watershed begins east of the Pembina River and ends where the river enters the North Saskatchewan River upstream from Fort Saskatchewan. Leah Jackson represents the City of St. Albert on the group's board. She said the board spent six months talking about what their values should be without reaching consensus. The group has representatives from six different organizations with divergent points of view, she said. The frustration level reached the point where the board decided to call a special meeting for Nov. 19 to ask members whether or not the group should dissolve.  

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Calgary Herald - October 23 

Suncor Energy says it will speed up the reclamation of its toxic tailings ponds through a new technology that squeezes water out in weeks rather than years. Suncor has submitted an application to the ERCB and Alberta Environment to implement “tailings reduction operations” or TRO, an improvement over the consolidated tailings or CT technology it has been using. It wants to start implementing the new technology in 2010, should it receive approval from regulators.  Click here to read more.





Government of Alberta - October 23 

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health has issued a public health advisory that recommends people avoid or limit their consumption of some species of fish caught from specific bodies of water in Alberta. Tests found high enough levels of mercury in certain fish to prompt the advisory. It is recommended pregnant women, women of child-bearing age and children do not eat walleye from the Pine Coulee, northern pike from Twin Valley Reservoirs in southern Alberta, walleye from the Red Deer River at the mouth of the Blindman River, and walleye, sauger and goldeye from the South Saskatchewan River at the Bindloss Ferry and Medicine Hat.

Mercury in fish in Alberta water bodies likely originates from natural sources. Once in a lake, mercury is converted to methylmercury by bacteria or chemical reactions. Fish absorb methylmercury from water as it passes


Government of Alberta - October 21 

Rural water treatment facilities will benefit from upcoming workshops on operational best practices and emergency response planning. The Alberta Federation of Rural Water Co-operatives recently completed a best practices manual on enhanced operational guidelines.

A $100,000 grant from the Government of Alberta will be used to establish workshops to discuss and develop customized emergency response plans and operational procedures for each unique facility.  Click here to read more 




CNW Group - October 20

EPCOR Utilities Inc. will become the primary provider of potable water and domestic wastewater services at Suncor Energy's Oil Sands operations under a new deal announced today. Under the agreement, EPCOR will acquire potable water and wastewater facilities under a sale lease-back agreement at Suncor's Steepbank, Firebag and Borealis sites for about $100 million , and will take over some wastewater operations at the Suncor Base Plant. As a result, EPCOR is providing potable water and domestic wastewater services to more than 6,000 Suncor oil sands workers. The deal includes operations and maintenance of three wastewater treatment plants, two water treatment plants, and various collection and distribution systems.  Click here to read more.


Red Deer Advocate - October 16 

A $3.2-million wetland research project that could change the way decorative lakes and retention ponds are built in urban centres was given a big welcome at Olds College. As part of a ceremony that attracted several government ministers, a $490,700 cheque was presented by Calgary developer, WestCreek Developments. The money, which nearly completes the funding needed for a wetland and botanical research site to be created on college land, was obtained though an innovative pilot project.

While wetlands in southern climes have been studied for their ability to cleanse impurities out of waste water, little research has been done on water plants in northern climates. Olds College students will also gain access to a 55-acre wetland to be built on donated land in the Town of Strathmore.  Click here to read more.





WWF-Canada - October 15

Flow regimes in some of Canada's most important rivers, such as the South Saskatchewan and the St. Lawrence, have been modified to the extent that ecosystems are in serious trouble, says the report, produced by WWF-Canada. The study assessed the flow of 10 Canadian rivers and the impact of economic development, infrastructure and hydroelectric dams. The report, which did not examine pollution levels, urges federal and provincial governments to work together to establish new measures to prevent major water diversions and promote responsible and sustainable development for new infrastructure projects.

The South Saskatchewan River, into which the Bow River flows, was considered to be the "most threatened river" of the country (in terms of environmental flows) because of hundreds of dams and withdrawals of 70 per cent of its flow for agricultural and urban use, and


Whitecourt Star - October 15 

The longtime water treatment project for Whitecourt, which actually started in 2001 is finally finished. This is the first membrane pressure system in Alberta and in western Canada. The Alberta Environment ministry was not familiar with the state-of-the-art pressure membrane system. “We had to work hard to get them to approve a pressure membrane system in our water treatment plant,” said Nick Slootweg, Town of Whitecourt utilities supervisor, whose crew spent a lot of time learning how to use and monitor the pressure membrane system. A total of $9.8 million has been spent on the project since it commenced in 2001.  Click here to read more.

 - October 14

Look out below! That's the warning a University of Alberta geophysics researcher has for hydrocarbon and water drillers after discovering uncharted land forms beneath the surface of the province. Deep valleys, cut out by glaciers and then filled with loose aggregate rock, silt and sand, are hiding fresh water reservoirs and natural gas deposits. The researchers discovered the 300 metre-deep valley hidden beneath the surface of the ground near the community of Rainbow Lake in northwestern Alberta.  Click here to read more.





Wetaskiwin - October 15 

A million-dollar-plus economic project was announced by the provincial and federal governments to upgrade sewer and waste water treatment facility for Pigeon Lake Provincial Park. The project is one of 29 provincial park and recreation projects that the Alberta government is breaking ground on.

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Red Deer Advocate - October 9

Lacombe County wants more information before it is willing to climb aboard a $65,000 effort to create a detailed snapshot of the state of the Sylvan Lake watershed. Several county councillors voiced support for taking a close look at the lake, but they wanted to know how new studies would mesh with similar past work before committing to the municipality’s $7,050 share of the project.

The Town of Sylvan Lake is appealing to municipalities around the lake to help fund a $40,000 project to create a State of the Watershed Report to determine the lake’s health, creating an inventory of its features and projecting impacts from future development. The information would be used later to create a watershed management report that would cost an additional $35,000.

A second initiative would see about $25,000 spent to develop a detailed water quality data collection plan,


Red Deer Advocate - October 9 

Lacombe County could be on the hook for providing a place to dispose of waste from residential septic systems. The issue came to a head recently when local septic hauling companies expressed concern that the province was banning the dumping of residential wastewater on farm land at the end of the month. Several hauling firms appealed to the county to help them get temporary access to dumping stations in several communities, including Sylvan Lake, Rimbey, Bentley and Lacombe, rather than face costly drives to Red Deer, which would drive up fees charged to homeowners.

The province appears to be taking the position that it is up to municipalities to provide a dumping site. Lacombe County has no sites, other than one the county inherited when it took over Mirror a few years ago. The county is working with the Sylvan Lake Waste Water Commission to see if it can


Media Release - October 4

The Board of Directors of the Alberta Society for Sustainable Water Management and Related Technologies (Alberta WaterSMART) are pleased to announce that Stella M. Thompson has been appointed as the new chair of the board at its Annual General Meeting and Directors Meeting held on September 14, 2009. Stella replaces Fred A. Stewart, who will continue to serve as a founding and valued board member.  Click here to read more.





Government of Alberta News Release - October 2 

Students will learn about the relationship between human activities and the health of Alberta’s aquatic ecosystems and fish populations at the newly completed Bow Habitat Station. Hands-on learning, interactive displays, and programming that aligns with the Alberta Education science curriculum will help students become environmental stewards now and in the future. Exhibits showcasing Alberta’s southern, prairie marsh, Rocky Mountain, and northern-boreal habitats will also show students the interconnections between the province’s many aquatic ecosystems. Bow Habitat Station’s exhibits and programs are open to schools and organizations that register for programs. Bow Habitat Station also consists of the Sam Livingston Fish Hatchery and Pearce Estate Park Interpretive Wetland. The interpretive wetland is open to the public.  Click here to