The following are just some of the notable projects and research to do with water in Alberta.
Agriculture’s Water Future
From March 2021 to March 2023, a pilot project in the Oldman River Watershed was conducted to explore water stewardship through the agri-food supply chain in southern Alberta. The project piloted water stewardship planning with operations at different levels within the supply chain, and assessed the opportunities and challenges of water stewardship for the agriculture and agri-food industry overall.
Athabasca River Basin Initiative
The Sustainable Water Management in the Athabasca River Basin Initiative (the ARB Initiative or Initiative) was an innovative project to identify water management issues, assess opportunities, and propose ways to build resilience to change.
Stormwater Management Cooperative
The Stormwater Management Cooperative (CSMI) started in 2012 with a grass roots approach. The Western Irrigation District (WID) spearheaded an effort to bring together five partner municipalities and the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) to develop a regional stormwater solution.
Dynamics of Alberta’s Water Supply
The Alberta Water Research Institute, now known as the Water Resources Strategic Area for Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions, brought together a team of Alberta and international water experts to synthesize a wide array of data and information to develop a complete water budget for Alberta. The collective work identifies research and information gaps and develops an overall approach to the mapping of water risk and vulnerability.
South Saskatchewan River Basin Adaptation to Climate Variability Project (2012-2014)
Spring 2012 saw the launch of a new project with aims to harness the energy and creativity of southern Albertans to explore practical options for adapting to climate variability and change. Water is fundamental to community sustainability and growth, and the way water is managed in the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) will become even more important in the face of changing weather patterns and climate.
Climate Vulnerability and Sustainable Water Management in the South Saskatchewan River Basin Project (2013-2016)
In April 2013, Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions awarded funding to Alberta WaterSMART for the Climate Vulnerability and Sustainable Water Management in the SSRB Project. This project builds on two preceding collaborative initiatives. The 2010 Bow River Project developed a mass balance river system model with specific performance measures for the Bow River sub-basin, and then used these tools to explore, test and recommend changes in river management for the net benefit of environmental, social and economic interests. The 2012-14 SSRB Adaptation Project extended the process to the Oldman and South Saskatchewan River sub-basins and introduced potential future climate variability and change into the discussion and analysis.
This initiative will build on and integrate existing data, tools, capacity and knowledge of water users and decision makers to improve understanding and explore how to manage for the range of potential impacts of climatic and environmental change throughout the SSRB’s river systems. This innovative work will bring together inter-related water issues, to help stakeholders better understand the range of potential impacts and changes throughout the SSRB and identify adaptation options that can be readily implemented to best assure that these resources continue to meet Albertans’ environmental, social and economic needs.
Bow River Project
In 2010, the Bow River Project Research Consortium was established to explore options for re-managing the river system from headwaters to confluence- the Bow River Project (BRP). The Consortium’s work shows that improvements in managing the Bow River System are realistic and doable with minimal economic impact on power generation revenues
Resilience and Mitigation Branch
The Resilience and Mitigation Branch of Alberta Environment and Parks continues on the work started with the Flood Recovery Task Force. The role of the Resilience and Mitigation Branch is to work with municipalities, First Nations, key stakeholders, and other branches of the Alberta Government to improve the flood and drought resiliency of our province.