Alberta's Looming Water Market: Is Public Consultation Necessary?


March 10, 2011 :: Kevin Force
Moderated by Mark Nelson

Alberta appears to be moving towards a serious water crisis. Climate change is causing rapid melting of the glaciers and decreasing snowpack on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, the source of most Alberta's water. Alberta has the fastest growing population in Canada and this growing population is centered in the southern most, driest region of the province. Industry and agriculture continue to thirst for more water to expand their operations; but as rivers are beginning and expected to continue to decline, the water limits are becoming evident.

An Our Water Is Not For Sale (OWINF) working group came together in 2010 when it became apparent the Alberta government was planning on changing Alberta's current water allocation system to a market based system. The proposed water market system could give wealthy and powerful individuals and companies better access and control over Alberta's already over allocated water resources. OWINF believes the proposed water markets would have insufficient conservation tools and would promote the use of nearly all flowing water. Furthermore, the market system gives those with the most money such as industry, including oil and gas explorations and large-scale agriculture, the ability to compete with municipalities for water. This could leave rivers and streams with very limited amounts of clean water flow.

Speakers: Julia Dalman and Kevin Force

Julia Dalman is currently the Environmental Intern for Public Interest Alberta working on the Our Water Is Not For Sale campaign. She has a Bsc with a major in Biology and a minor in International studies from the University of Alberta. Julia believes in community engagement and volunteer work and has a passion for gardening and cooking food believing it to be a 'gateway drug' to community engagement and activism. At U of A, Julia became a volunteer with the Sexual Assault Center on campus and is still involved now. She is also part of a youth leadership program called Next Up.

Kevin Force is a water educator for the Sierra Club. Kevin has been active in student politics with the Council of Canadians University of Alberta Chapter helping to build awareness and advocacy for progressive energy, trade and water policies. Passionate about environmental and social justice, Kevin is taking his talents and expertise to community groups in Alberta, building awareness about OWINF network and how water in Alberta is affected by climate change, over-allocation and pollution, while advocating for provincial protection that prioritize water rights for human needs and future generations. He has his Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and a Certificate of Globalization and Governance from the University of Alberta.


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