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Year-end message from the Executive Director

Carole Stark2012 has been an eventful year for the staff and board of Water Matters, with a focus on major work projects and numerous strategic responses to challenges and announcements about water-related issues in Alberta and beyond.

Water Matter’s important work to protect Alberta’s watersheds and water resources has a dual focus: informing progressive water policy at the provincial and municipal levels, and building capacity and tools for watershed stewardship across the province. Two highly successful projects undertaken in 2012 are:

1. Source to Tap: Community Conversations on Headwaters Health in the Oldman River Basin

Water Matters built a unique model of community involvement and led workshops across the Oldman Basin engaging local residents, landowners, municipal officials and business people in dialogue about local water uses, health and activities that impact headwaters integrity. Delivered in partnership with the Oldman Watershed Council, the information gained from the meetings will add critical local knowledge to OWC’s Headwaters Action Plan for furthering on-the-ground stewardship of this critical source water area in Alberta. A second phase of community workshops will occur in Feb/Mar of 2013, identifying headwaters stewardship successes and priorities.

2. Water Policy Dialogues: Instream Flow Needs and Water Allocation

Water Matters developed progressive policy options for incorporating instream flow needs protection into water management in Alberta to ensure long-term ecosystem health. The recommendations and tools, which highlight the value of healthy rivers and the need for a provincial instream flow needs policy, were informed by interviews with key stakeholders, experts and decision-makers across Alberta. In addition, our research focused on water rights and equity issues, and their impact on water use and healthy rivers, identifying creative policy and management tools for water allocation and drought management. Four publications outlining the research and recommendations - Maintaining Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems, Moving Waters, Allocating Our Water, and Sharing Our Rivers, are available on our website.

Help Water Matters to be Your Voice for Healthy Rivers and Watershed Protection in Alberta

Please support us to speak out for water quality, healthy rivers and effective watershed management in Alberta by providing a charitable donation to Water Matters. The Government of Alberta has announced its intention to hold province-wide consultations in 2013 about key water issues and your financial help will ensure Water Matters’ participation in the public interest. Our proven expertise and recent Water Policy Dialogues research positions us well to contribute thoughtful and critical input to the provincial water consultations. 

Consider a donation to Water Matters as your way of advancing progressive action on water issues in Alberta. Call the office at (403) 538-7785; email Carlos R. Garcia; or donate online through our website (click on the word DONATE on our homepage).

Have a happy holiday season, and I look forward to sharing our successes with you through 2013!

Carole Stark
Executive Director