Alberta urged to “stay the course” on water management plan Method to measure success is needed, report says

Alberta urged to “stay the course” on water management plan Method to measure success is needed, report says by Colette Derworiz, January 7, 2013, Calgary Herald
The Water for Life strategy was introduced in 2003 to protect the province’s rivers, lakes and groundwater. It led to the creation of the Alberta Water Council, an arm’s length body that conducts regular reviews of the action plan. In its latest review, released in late December, the council suggests the province should “stay the course” on the plan. “Significant progress continues to be made in a number of areas around water management in the province,” said Andre Asselin, project manager for the review. “But there is still work that remains to be done and the momentum that has been gained in the last 10 years needs to be maintained.” The report has a total of 10 recommendations that include developing a water-management approach, finalizing and implementing a wetland policy, and completing a water allocation review. Each of the first nine recommendations has been previously identified in the Water for Life strategy. The final recommendation, however, suggests an additional step: to develop metrics to better measure if the outcomes of the strategy are working. Conservation organizations suggest Water for Life is a good plan, but said the recommendations contained in its reviews are often ignored by the government. … Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources Minister Diana McQueen was not available for comment last week, but she talked about the report in a recent blog post. “In general, it’s positive: we’re on track to achieve many of the goals we set out in our 2009 action plan, and we’ve already accomplished others,” she wrote. “It also provides us with some recommendations, highlighting policy areas that we need to pay special attention to. Some — like drinking water management and aquatic ecosystem health — are broad; others are more technical.

“This report reminds us of how important it is for this work to continue.” Jessica Potter, a spokeswoman with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resources, said the report offers important insight as the province starts public consultations around water. “We’re going to go out in the new year and do what we’re calling the water conversation,” she said, noting the talks will focus on healthy lakes, water use for hydraulic fracturing, water management, and drinking and wastewater systems. “That dialogue is a major priority for us this year.” Donahue, who noted the same consultation was started and shelved five or six years ago, said it’s time for action…. [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to: Staying Dirty by Jessica Ernst, November 30, 2012, Calgary Herald  Re: “Seniors’ shower issue deserves serious response,” Don Braid, Opinion, Nov. 28.

It’s Official: Fed funded oil sands study confirms toxic PAHs alter lakes 90 km away by Andrew Nikiforuk, January 7, 2013, ]

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