NDP government to spend $12M to protect Alberta watersheds

Alberta's NDP government marked World Water Day by announcing a $12-million commitment to support the work done by several groups to protect the province's watersheds.

12 groups will share cash over 3 years, environment minister announces

The province is spending $12 million to boost watershed planning and protect important waterways, such as the Oldman River. (Government of Alberta)

Alberta's NDP government marked World Water Day by announcing a $12-million commitment to support the work done by several groups to protect the province's watersheds.

Over the next three years, 11 watershed councils will share $3.2 million, while the Alberta Water Council will get $750,000 per year over three years for its work preserving water resources, the province said in a release.

"World Water Day challenges us to think about how we protect this extraordinary economic and environmental resource," said Environment Minister Shannon Phillips.

"We are taking steps to protect Alberta's water through partnerships and collaboration."

Each of the 11 non-profit watershed planning and advisory councils focuses on a major river basin in the province. They work with members of the public, Indigenous communities, industry and government to promote flood- and drought-resiliency initiatives.

'Benefits Albertans now and into the future'

"Together with the Alberta Water Council, each water planning and advisory council will leverage this investment into improvement and conservation that benefits Albertans now and into the future," said Mark Bennett, executive director of the Bow River Basin Council.

The Alberta Water Council, also a non-profit group, has 24 members from government, industry and the public at large. Its members work with major water users to improve efficiency and work to improve water literacy in the province, the release said.

"We need to work together to tackle flooding and drought, headwater protection and the threat posed by aquatic invasive species and whirling disease," said Andre Asselin, acting executive director of the Alberta Water Council.