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Water Allocation

Water Matters tracks decisions on water allocation, use, and management across the province and takes action on behalf of the public and environmental interests.

Healthy watersheds are the product of sustainable water management.Sustainable water management considers the protection of instream flows, long-term planning for global climate change and drought, and makes strong use of tools designed to make the most efficient use of water. Appropriate water allocation is one of those tools.

In Alberta, agricultural, industrial, municipal, and other water users must apply to Alberta Environment for a licence to divert water. These licences then allocate a limited water supply from every river basin. Water allocation is based on an estimate of the sustainable yield of a defined resource based on storage capacity, degree of replenishment and the impacts of extraction.

Water supplies from Alberta's watersheds are threatened due to the cumulative impacts of over allocation, climate change, and drought. The appropriate allocation of water resources will be extremely important for protecting the flows and supplies needed for long term environmental and public interest requirements.

Our Work

Water Matters is currently engaged in processes and is conducting research on the following Water Allocation topics:

Basin and Sub-basin Water Transfers

Water Rights Trading

Integrated Water Resources Management

Prioritizing water for instream flow needs (i.e. water for healthy rivers)

Recommended changes to Alberta's water management system