Marketwire - June 21st

The Alberta President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is speaking out against the poor quality of water on Alberta's First Nations communities.

Marle Roberts is calling on the government to take action regarding the fact over two-thirds of Alberta's First Nations communities have boil water advisories.

"As the union for most municipal water workers in Alberta, we understand the importance of safe drinking water, and we're appalled at the situation," said Roberts. ... Click here to read more. 

Nunatsiaq online - June 21

After a period of rapid Arctic sea ice loss through the first half of June, sea ice extent is now slightly below 2010 levels, the previous record low at this time of year, the Colorado-based National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a June 20 update.

And the speed at which the sea ice is melting on the Arctic Ocean puts the coverage behind 2007 — when sea ice hit a record low in September.

Recent ice loss rates have been 100,000 to 150,000 square kilometres per day, more than double the usual rate, the NSIDC said. ... Click here to read more.

Banff Crag and Canyon - June 20th

Everyone was talking about it, but two friends from Canmore actually did it.

Ray Schmidt and Chris Mctaggart took advantage of the river’s high water levels last week and kayaked over the Bow Falls to the surprise and delight of tourists who happened to be on the shoreline.

The two paddling buddies wanted to take on the one section of the Bow River they’d never crossed before, and the high water made the normally dangerous Bow Falls safer to navigate. But don’t think just anybody could do it. Schmidt’s been paddling for over 10 years, and Mctaggart is one of the best kayakers in the country — he narrowly missed a spot on the 2012 Olympic team. ... Click here to read more. 

Calgary Herald - June 19th

Environment Minister Diana McQueen has arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a United Nations conference, vowing to promote the Alberta government's record on an array of green issues.

Critics have long charged the province falls short on environmental matters such as climate change and oilsands development, but McQueen said she will tout Alberta's progress surrounding energy production and sustainable development.

"We're proud of the environmental practices we have and the regulatory practices we have," she said in an interview before heading to the conference. ... Click here to read more. 

CBC News - June 18th

What is a sip of clean water worth? Is there economic value in the shade of a tree? And how much would you pay for a breath of fresh air?

Putting a price on a natural bounty long taken for granted as free may sound impossible, even ridiculous. But after three decades on the fringes of serious policymaking, the idea is gaining traction, from the vividly clear waters of the Maldives to the sober, suited reaches of the World Bank.

As traditional measures of economic progress like GDP are criticized for ignoring downsides like pollution or diminishment of resources such as fresh water or fossil fuels, there has been an increased urgency to arguments for a more balanced and accurate reckoning of costs.

That is particularly so as fast-developing nations such as India and China jostle with rich nations for access to those resources and insist on their own right to pollute


The United Nations Conferences on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) conference in Brazil is this week. The following is a roundup of the publications being disseminated surrounding water and Canada's participation.

The conference takes place from June 20th to June 22nd. 

New York Times Blogs - June 18th

Dodging quicksand and rattlesnakes, Ted Mouras will spend Saturday morning walking along a five-mile stretch of a remote section of southeastern Arizona’s San Pedro River Basin in triple-digit heat for the annual wet/dry mapping of its water levels. A retired Army officer, he has volunteered annually to help the Nature Conservancy and its partners determine how the prolonged drought in the Southwest and the depletion of aquifers from local use affect the river.

Equipped with GPS technology, sturdy hiking boots and plenty of water, Mr. Mouras and more than 150 other volunteers will fan out to collect data along the more than 220 miles of the river basin, from its headwater streams in Mexico to the confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, Ariz. The San Pedro’s tributary streams, some of which lie thousands of feet above the river and its valley,


Rocky View Weekly - June 18th

Rocky View County council unanimously voted to adjust water and sewer rates in Balzac, Langdon and East Rocky View, June 12.

The changes to the Master Rates Bylaw include a redefinition of low-, medium- and high-volume usage, as well as corresponding rate changes.

“With these rate adjustments, we are moving toward full cost recovery,” said Deputy Reeve Margaret Bahcheli.

County staff told council cost recovery through user fees and charges will ensure more accurate budgeting. ... Click here to read more.


Petroleum Technology Alliance of Canada Spring Water Forum presentations are now online to be viewed.

The presentations are:

  • Keynote: Implications of Recent Merge of Alberta Environment and Water and Sustainable Resource Development and 2012 Energy Policy Priorities
  • Water Innovation Planning Committee Update
  • Water Strategy and Water Management Planning in Shale Gas Development
  • CAPP Hydraulic Fracturing Operating Practices
  • BC Fracture Fluid Disclosure and Overview of
  • Projections of Long-Term Surface Water Requirements for Hydraulic Fracturing in the Montney Trend in relation to Water Supply
  • Fracturing Case Studies in Water Usage
  • Fracture Water Recycling Feasibility Study and Decision Tool
  • Reuse of Flowback & Produced Water for Hydraulic Fracturing in Tight Oil
  • The Modern Practice of Hydraulic Fracturing: A Primer for Canadian Resources
  • Water Act Modernization
  • Knowledge

 University of Lethbridge - June 15th

A recent pipeline rupture in the Red Deer River might have relatively short term environmental damage, but a larger concern is the vast number of older pipeline locations at river crossings and their vulnerability to floods, according to a leading expert in floodplain and river bank ecosystems.

Dr. Stewart Rood, a University of Lethbridge Environmental Science researcher and member of the Water Institute for Sustainable Environments at the University of Lethbridge, has already started on a study of the Red Deer River oil spill, looking at more than 30 km of river shoreline downstream from the spill.

He and his colleagues are looking for opportunities to learn from this particular spill, and then turn their research findings into a set of guidelines for developing oil pipelines near, over or under waterways.

“River crossings are especially prone to


Fort McMurray Today - June 15th

Energy company Shell Canada has pleaded guilty to releasing a toxic substance into the Peace River, located in northwestern Alberta, and has agreed to pay a fine of $225,000.

Shell was charged after an open valve allowed approximately 12,500 litres of sodium bisulphite to flow into the river in August 2009. The company uses the chemical to remove oxygen from water and to prevent pipeline corrosion. ... Click here to read more.


Financial Post - June 15th

The Alberta government is coming under pressure to include pipeline leaks in the “world-class” environmental monitoring system it is developing, with people living near a recent spill saying they don’t want the studies to stop after the cleanup is over.

While the shape of a promised, provincewide system for tracking environmental impacts of industrial development is still being determined, Alberta Environment spokesman Mark Cooper said including pipeline spills is possible.

“We need to look at that as we develop the system,” he said.

“I’m not saying that we wouldn’t pay more close attention to following up to see the long-term impacts on situations like this. We could very well. It makes sense that we do that.” ... Click here to read more.


OSLI Storybank - June 14th

It's official: the Alberta government has certified the OSLI-inspired Water Treatment Operator Program. That means graduates of the program — offered for the first time this fall at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) — will receive a Certificate of Accreditation.

"It's been two-and-a-half years of hard slogging by the OSLI team, SAIT and subject matter experts to put this program together, but receiving accreditation made it all worth while," says Duane Kichton, who as OSLI's project lead for the Water Treatment Operator program has worked on the project since its inception.

"We were asked to put together this program to address the need for higher levels of expertise to operate the complex water treatment plants that are critical to the success of SAGD (Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage) operations, and we've done just that."... Click here to


Calgary Herald - June 14th

A day spent blazing new paths through McLean Creek on ATVs and dirt bikes was a blast for Matthew Sirianni more than a year ago.

But the 12-year-old is having second thoughts about the popular pastime southwest of Calgary after learning how vehicles driven off set trails can unknowingly cause soil erosion and hurt water quality.

Eighty-four Grade 7 students at Rundle College Junior-Senior High School spent much of the past year discovering how off-roading can have lasting effects on the environment, particularly in McLean Creek.

They’re now determined to take what they’ve learned directly to Alberta Environment. ... Click here to read more.


CTV Calgary - June 11th

Residents in three northwest Calgary communities will need to continue to boil their water to ensure it is safe to use.

The advisory, which was put in place in the city on Thursday, was lifted on Sunday for three communities: The Hamptons, Hidden Valley, and Sherwood.

Homeowners in Kincora, Nolan Hill, and Sage Hill will have to wait for the all clear from city authorities before it is safe to drink their water again.

For those out of the advisory, city officials say that they should take precautions before using their water again. "Flush the pipe system within your home or business by running each cold water tap used for drinking for about five minutes. Wash tap aerators and screens that you have on those systems in hot, soapy water. Then they should be disinfected for ten minutes with one part bleach and ten parts water. Disinfect any water filters to the


At the AGM on June 8th, the OWC released their 2011-2012 Annual Report. It highlights the OWC's various accomplishments over the past year as well as their goals for the current year.

It highlights the OWC's various accomplishments over the past year as
well as their goals for the current year.


In this issue of Western Irrigration District's Dispatch:

  • The Bow River is Safe with the New Harvie Passage
  • Thanks to Irrigation
  • Seed Growers' Tour
  • Construction Update
  • Meetings and Workshops
  • E-mail Collection
  • Communication is Key

Click here to download the .pdf


The Globe and Mail - June 8th

A large amount of oil has spilled from an Alberta pipeline into a creek, with an early estimate of 1,000 to 3,000 barrels leaking into a tributary of the Red Deer River, one of the province's most important waterways.

Plains Midstream Canada said it was notified about the leak near Sundre, Alta. Thursday night. The leak is 160,000 to 475,000 litres in size, which was released into Jackson Creek. The company is dispatching aircraft to survey the damage, which local residents expect to be significant, with the Red Deer River currently flooding.

"I would expect that the vast majority of it will end up in the Red Deer River," said Bruce Beattie, reeve of Mountain View County. "It's a major concern." ... Click here to read more.


Edmonton Journal - June 8th

Calgary and communities west of the city are bracing for rising water levels and overland flooding in low-lying areas with forecasts of scattered showers over the weekend, and as much as 15 millimetres of rain coming from the mountains by Monday.

While city engineers kept a close watch on the Elbow River, which has risen by almost one metre in the last few days, town employees in Banff spent Thursday sandbagging and building temporary berms to prepare for the heavy rain which could hit them as soon as Sunday night.

Some Banff residents stated the river is now the highest they’ve ever seen it at this time of the year. ... Click here to read more.


Calgary Herald - June 8th

(This is an update to the mid-May story "Rainbow Lake spill pegged at 22,000 barrels")

A pipeline leak last month in northern Alberta was much smaller than first estimated and contained oil, not emulsion, as thought by both the producer and provincial regulators.

Approximately 5,000 barrels of sweet crude spilled onto the muskeg about 20 kilometres southeast of Rainbow Lake, down from initial estimates of 22,000 barrels, operator Pace Oil & Gas Ltd. said Thursday.

The company thought the leak, discovered May 19 during a routine flyover, contained saltwater and oil associated with natural gas production being piped to a waste injection well. ... Click here to read more.


Financial Post - June 8th

Nearly a year after agreeing to a joint federal-provincial plan to improve the scientific and environmental oversight of oilsands development, Canada’s main oil and gas industry lobby group says it is still sorting out details about how different companies would share the estimated $50 million price tag.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers told Postmedia News it hoped to have a final deal in place by the end of June to cover the cost of improving monitoring of the Alberta region’s air, water and wildlife.

“Industry has agreed to fund the costs of the enhanced oilsands regional environmental monitoring program,” said Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “We have moved on to figuring out how to administratively do it.” ... Click here to read more.


Newswire - June 7th

With only two weeks to the official start of summer, Canadians are looking forward to vacations, weekends at the cottage and spending time in or on the water swimming, sailing or at the beach.

For many, their fondest outdoor experiences involve water - from swimming (33 per cent) and going to the beach (33 per cent), to fishing (28 per cent) and canoeing (11 per cent). Winter sports that depend on water also factored in, with skating and skiing (14 and 13 per cent) being mentioned often, according to the 2012 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes study, which measures Canadians' perceptions about water protection and conservation.

The poll examined the country's passion for recreation around some of our 243,000 kilometres of shoreline and thousands of lakes and rivers and found that many Canadians consider water to be the country's most valuable natural resource (49 per cent).


Cochrane Times - June 7th

An environmental group that’s concerned with the watershed health in the Horse Creek area is hosting a meeting on June 12 at 7 p.m. at Weedon Hall.

The Little Creeks and Fescue Appreciation Society (LCARF) was formed in part to monitor water quality and examine fish species in Horse Creek.

Now with funding from the Land Stewardship Centre and ALTA Gas, LCARF founder Sarah Leete said the group has been able to re-start water quality monitoring.

One of the things she’s concerned about is the fact water is being pumped out of Cochrane Lake and diverted to the Bow River via the Horse Creek tributary. ... Click here to read more.


CBC News - June 7th

The insurance industry is suggesting homeowners look at using rain barrels as a way to protect basements during a heavy downpour of rain.

A study in Wingham, Ont., determined collecting rain water in barrels can reduce the flow to the storm sewer collection system by 70 per cent.

Water in basements is often attributed to a storm sewer that is overwhelmed by an intense downpour. ... Click here to read more.


Government of Canada News Centre - June 5th

Environment Canada scientists have published a new study showing that mercury concentrations in fish are not increasing over time. The study,Investigations of Mercury Concentrations in Walleye and Other Fish in the Athabasca River Ecosystem with Increasing Oil Sands Developments (Mercury in Fish), by Marlene S. Evans and André Talbot, will be published in the next issue of the Journal of Environmental Monitoring.

“This is an example of the type of work our scientists are undertaking to support our reliable, robust, and world class monitoring program for the oil sands,” said Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent. “This research will help build a comprehensive, scientifically grounded understanding of baseline environmental conditions in the oil sands region in order to properly assess changes over time.” ... Click here to read more.