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Schulz outlines next steps for water sharing agreements

Posted on April 18, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron
Commentator/Courier

During the Town of Redcliff Council Meeting on April 8, Council reviewed a letter that had been sent to them and all other water licence holders by Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz, regarding recent water sharing negotiations.

Minister Schulz began the letter by thanking Redcliff Council for participating in Alberta’s water-sharing negotiations over the past two months. 

“By working to develop these water-sharing agreements, you have demonstrated the leadership, dedication and community spirit that makes Alberta great,” said Minister Schulz’s letter. “Negotiating water-sharing agreements is the most effective tool available to conserve water and reduce the risks posed by drought.”

Minister Schulz’s letter stated that while similar agreements struck in 2001 played a critical role in helping communities, irrigators and businesses survive and thrive, this year’s discussions were the largest in Alberta’s history, with licensees participating who have access of up to 90 per cent of the water that is allocated in the Red Deer, Bow and Old Man River basins. 

“As a result of this hard work, four draft memorandums of understanding (MOUs) have been developed covering the Bow River Basin, Red Deer River Basin, Oldman River Basin, and Upper Tributaries of the Oldman River Basin,” said Minister Schulz’s letter.

Alberta Environment and Protected areas was hoping to announce the conclusion of this important work at the end of March, Minister Schulz’s letter states, but it has become clear that more time will be required for each water licence holder to finalize their approval through respective governance processes. That said,  there is a formal request that the work be completed no later than April 18. This achievement, Minister Schulz’s letter states, will be shared with both public and media in a press conference in Calgary on Friday, April 19  and those who wish to participate are invited to contact EPA.Minister@gov.ab.ca to confirm attendance.

“The conclusion of the largest water-sharing negotiations in Alberta’s history will be a landmark achievement for all involved and an example to the rest of Canada,” it was stated in  Minister Schulz’s letter. “On behalf of Alberta’s government, I applaud your leadership and I look forward to working further with you to manage these agreements and maximize Alberta’s water supply.”

Minister Schulz’s letter concluded by thanking all recipients for their generosity, ingenuity, and participation in the process. 

A motion was made to receive Minister Schulz’s letter for information and the motion was carried.

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