Alberta: Potential Leader in Water Management

Report released by the Canada West Foundation

A new report released by the Canada West Foundation concludes that Alberta has the chance to become an international leader in water resource management.

In "From H20: Turning Alberta’s Water Headache into Opportunity," senior policy analyst Casey Vander Ploeg explores Alberta’s waterscape, water supply-and-demand issues and the province’s growing vulnerability. The study is the first in a larger series of research papers exploring financial or market-based mechanisms for sustainable water resource management. This initiative was headed up by the Alberta Water Research Institute (AWRI) and project managed by the Canada West Foundation.

“The current water headaches of the province provide Albertans with opportunity, and now is the time to do something big on the water front,” says Vander Ploeg. “Opportunities abound if Albertans do this well, but letting the opportunity slip by may have implications for Alberta’s future economic and social development.”

Canada is a country whose history and development is closely intertwined with water. This comes as no real surprise, given that Canada lays claim to 20% of all the world’s freshwater (McFarlane and Nilson 2003).

An excerpt from the report states, “Vastly expanding our knowledge and research of the province’s water, its water challenges, and potential solutions: This is perhaps the most critical element affecting Alberta’s ability to manage water effectively. The strategy commits the province to enhancing scientific knowledge of Alberta’s water resources, better understanding of both current and emerging water issues, and ensuring that Albertans are aware of the issues and have the knowledge and tools to make good decisions. In short, a critical part of the solution is to invest in knowledge, research, and technology.”

Vander Ploeg has authored and co-authored over 50 research reports for the Canada West Foundation on a range of public policy topics including papers on national unity and water issues.