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SEAWA increasing public awareness through community engagement

Posted on August 16, 2016 by Jamie Rieger

By Jamie Rieger

It’s all about working together to have the most efficient management practices in place for the future of our watersheds, said the SEAWA chair about what their organization is focused on.

“This is all to do with Water for Life. We talk about water issues in the area and try to resolve those issues amongst ourselves,” said chair, Stuart Murray.

The organization has 14 directors who representing industry, government, environment, and other groups who work together to plan and facilitate for present and future needs of the watershed, while addressing ecological, social, environmental, and economical concerns.

“We have a good diverse group on our board and we have really good discussions. There are different views on some things, but we all have the same game plan in the end,” said Murray. “Our main goal is to get groups together to talk about water and its value.”

A new executive director, Marilou Montemayor , who joined  SEAWA earlier this year, comes with a wealth of knowledge, having previously worked with several watershed alliances and the State of the Watershed report, which addresses the watershed’s current conditions, its resources, and analyzes how the landscape and  hydraulic systems work together. Historical data and human impact are also included in State of Watershed reports.

The SEAWA State of the Watershed report (released in 2011) includes information on the South Saskatchewan River basin, climate trends, groundwater resources, surface water resources, habitat assessment, protected area, agriculture and irrigation, land-use planning, sustainability, and future plans.

Currently they are working on integrating their water management plan with the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, which is one of seven regional plans in the province. The Alberta Land Stewardship Act is the legal document that accompanies and outlines the legal regulations of these plans.

SEAWA is also in the process of expanding their community engagement program.

“We are working at getting our ideas and views out there, to raise awareness to what we are all about,” he said.

The South Saskatchewan River sub-basin encompasses the southeast corner of the province and 80 percent of its land being agricultural; 25 percent corps and 63 percent pasture.

Approximately 66,000 people reside in the region.

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