Throughout 2012 and 13, we have seen ongoing pressures on Albertaʼs water resources. From water use associated with oilsands development in the north, to increased fracking at a provincial scale, to water quality issues confronting many of the provinceʼs lakes, to concerns around water allocation associated with continued growth and economic prosperity in the south, the list is long and impressive. Floods in 2013 meanwhile stood as a stark reminder of the power of water and how it can impact our lives.
Over the past two years, Water Matters has continued its focused work on watershed stewardship and protection by publishing three reports intended to provide policy answers for the water allocation issues of the South Saskatchewan River Basin. Another research project and its report, Determining Appropriate Nutrient and Sediment Loading Coefficients for Modeling Effects of Changes in Landuse and Landcover in Alberta Watersheds, is moving Albertaʼs water agenda forward to deal with one of the greatest aquatic challenges of our time, non-point source pollution impacts on our waterways. Focused on determining impacts of land conversion on water quality, the report is already being used to assess and plan activities with aquatic health in mind.
It is clear we have our work cut out for us to restore some watersheds in Alberta, and it is only through an understanding of our land use decisions that we can begin to protect our water resources in a more proactive manner. While science-based policy remedies for watershed protection and water quality remain the focus of Water Mattersʼ work, we recognize that science-based policy alone is not enough. Albertans must move in a unified direction in pursuit of a common mission, preserving and restoring our aquatic health for future generations of Albertans.
The journey to having policies and actions that are protective of our watersheds will take long term commitment: by government, by industry, by Albertans, by Water Matters. We hope you will continue to join and support us on this journey.