Government of Alberta Information Bulletin - March 27

Monitoring results show water flow levels have dropped into the yellow warning zone as determined by the Athabasca River Water Management Framework. Alberta Environment staff will continue to monitor water levels and restrict further withdrawals until further notice. Under the framework, a yellow flow condition means the river is experiencing low flows, which occur naturally about 20 per cent of the time. When this happens, water withdrawals may increase stress to the aquatic ecosystems, and are therefore restricted. Each operator is required to follow a cumulative effect action plan, which is activated to reduce water use during low flow periods. All existing and approved projects in northeastern Alberta are licensed to withdraw less than two per cent of the Athabasca’s average yearly water flow.Click here to read more.





Leduc Representative - March 27

The Working Well workshop came to Leduc County for the first time on March 19 and attendance at the nearly four-hour seminar proved that there is an overwhelming interest in proper well management in the area. Robbin Nikiforuk, manager of the Alberta Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture (AESA) program for the counties of Leduc and Wetaskiwin, said that’s not surprising considering more than 90 per cent of Leduc County residents obtain their water from a well of some kind. 

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Calgary Herald - March 19

While results show improvement in the infrastructure of regulated drinking water facilities, they also indicate challenges related to facility operation and resulting water quality, says the government report. In the 2007-08 reporting year, the number of incidents where drinking water facilities didn't meet operational requirements jumped nearly one-third to 46, from 35 the previous two years. The number of reported incidents is more than double the government's target of 20. While there's been some improvement in recent years on the number of water-quality incidents (where health-related limits were exceeded), the number of violations last fiscal year jumped more than 10 per cent to 48, from 43 the previous year. That's down, though, from the 60 incidents in the 2005-06 year, but still more than the provincial target of 40.

"Much has been done to improve the


Calgary Herald - March 18

Canadians currently use an average of 329 litres of water per person, per day -- second only to the United States in the developed world, and more than twice as much as Europeans. The study shows water-consumption rates climbed marginally from 2008. For example, in 2008, Canadians showers lasted on average, 7.6 minutes, while they stood under the shower head for 8.1 minutes in 2009. Click here to read more.





Edmonton Sun - March 18

Health Canada is testing drinking water at more than 60 treatment plants across the country for a host of chemical products. The department wants data on new byproducts of water disinfection. Drinking water is usually treated with chlorine or ozone, but byproducts of that process may make it to the tap. The department also wants more information about common drugs (such as ibuprofen) and plastic components (such as bisphenol A) that sometimes show up in the water supply. Click here to read more.




Edmonton Journal - March 17

The province is contributing towards a $30-million underground coal gasification demonstration project that taps into coal seams that are too deep to be mined economically — and would otherwise sit idle — to produce clean, synthesis gas for power generation. The project uses an in situ process that involves the injection of oxygen and saline water into coal seams to convert it into synthesis gas, which can be used as fuel for clean power generation. Click here to read more.




Calgary Herald - March 16

A landmark regional plan that will guide the development of 18 municipalities for the next six decades will be counting on a finite resource to make sure those municipalities don't break the rules. It may not be written directly into the Calgary Regional Partnership's plan, but water--more precisely, access to water--will be one of the key enforcement tools to ensure the plan's backers obey the calls for environmental protection and higher density development. "The set of teeth is water," partnership chairwoman and Airdrie Mayor Linda Bruce told a recent City of Calgary committee meeting. "If you're non-compliant, you won't get the service that you need.That pipe won't show up." 

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Calgary Herald - March 13

Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said Thursday he is re-evaluating his department’s policy on releasing information when charges have been laid under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. 

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Government of Alberta News Release - March 10

The Alberta government has issued an environmental protection order against Ward Chemical Incorporated, operator of a brine extraction, holding, and distributing facility near Calling Lake, for exceeding the regulatory guidelines for chlorides in groundwater. In 2006, groundwater monitoring at the facility showed high levels of chlorides and other contaminants, which exceeded provincial and federal guidelines. Click here to read more.




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


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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