Alberta s s Strategy for Sustainability. Kate Rich Alberta Environment September 12, 2005

Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability Kate Rich Alberta Environment September 12, 2005 Need for Water for Life ƒ Alberta is facing a number of press...
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Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability Kate Rich Alberta Environment September 12, 2005

Need for Water for Life ƒ Alberta is facing a number of pressures on its water resources: ‹

Economic growth

‹

Population growth

‹

Environmental factors

ƒ A strategy to effectively conserve, manage and protect water supplies, while maintaining a high quality of life for Albertans.

Economic & Population Growth Growth in selected Economic Indicators 174.6

Alberta Canada

146.4

62.0

In ve st m en t

G .D

.P .

50.4 40.4

Ex po rt s

Em pl

Po pu l

136.3

30.3 20.8

oy m en t

19.2 10.7

at io n

180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

% Change, 1992 - 2002

Changes in Bow Glacier Bow Glacier in 1898

…and in 2002

(Source: Graeme Pole, 2003)

Annual River Flows ƒ Where does Alberta’s water go? ‹

87% flows north

‹

13% flows east

‹

0.1% flows south

ƒ On average, Alberta “generates” about 60 billion m³ of surface runoff annually ‹

equivalent to 90 mm spread over entire province

The Solution – Development of Water for Life Involving Albertans…

ƒ Ideas Generation (November 2001) ƒ Public Outreach and Consultation (March and April 2002)

ƒ Minister’s Forum on Water (June 2002) ƒ Cross-Government Working Group (2002-2003)

ƒ Draft Water for Life (March 2003) ƒ Consultation (June 2003) ƒ Final Water for Life: Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability (November 2003)

… Shift to implementation

Water for Life – What is it? What it is… ƒ Confirmation of foundations in the Water Act ƒ Initiative to change the culture around water ƒ Cross-ministry initiative / commitment

What it is not… ƒ New legislation and regulations

Water for Life Signals a Change ƒ From process to outcomes ƒ From water management to watershed management ƒ From regulating to shared responsibility Alberta’s water management system is a shared responsibility.

Water for Life Outcomes ƒ Safe, secure drinking water supply ƒ Healthy aquatic ecosystems ƒ Reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy

Water for Life – Key Directions ƒ Knowledge and research ƒ Partnerships for watershed management and stewardship ƒ Water conservation

Partnerships for Watershed Management and Stewardship ƒ Focuses on shared responsibility for watershed management ƒ Three types of partnerships that have distinct roles and are complementary to one another: ‹ ‹

‹

Alberta Water Council Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils Watershed Stewardship Groups

Partnerships for Watershed Management and Stewardship ¾ Alberta Water Council: ™

Advise on provincial water management issues

™

Steward implementation of Water Strategy

™

Develop water conservation targets

™

Identify research priorities

™

Wetland policy

Member Categories: Provincial Government Industry NGO Other Government

Partnerships for Watershed Management and Stewardship ¾ Watershed Planning & Advisory Councils

Major River Basins of Albert N

™

Develop watershed management plans

™

Promote best management practices

™

Report on state of the watershed

Oldman Bow North Sask. Peace Athabasca

Cold Lake-Beaver R. Battle Lesser Slave Red Deer Milk

Fort McMurray

Grande Prairie

EDMONTON

Major Basins Athabasca River Beaver River Milk River North Saskatchewan River Peace Slave / Mackenzie South Saskatchewan River 0

100

200

300

Red Deer

CALGARY

400 Kilometers

Lethbridge

Medicine Hat

Place-based approach Surface and Groundwater Allocations (2004) Athabasca River - 63% oil and gas - 3% agriculture South Saskatchewan - 1% oil and gas - 76% agriculture

Partnerships for Watershed Management and Stewardship Watershed Planning changing: … water management framework (allocation) to watershed planning (quality, land use impact, etc. integrated) … government-led planning to WPAC-led planning.

Water Conservation ¾Ensure water efficiency and productivity improves by 30% from 2005 levels by 2015. (Firm water conservation targets will be determined by the Alberta Water Council.) ¾Implement sector plans for water use improvements (oilfield injection) ‹

understand current use by each sector; and

‹

develop plans for improvement.

Advisory Committee on Water Use Practice and Policy ƒDuring the public consultation phases of Water for Life (2002-2003), Albertans raised a number of concerns regarding water used for the enhanced recovery of oil (oilfield injection). ƒConcerned about reductions in the availability of useable water (loss from the hydrologic cycle). ƒMulti-stakeholder Advisory Committee established.

Water Use for Injection Purposes in Alberta

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Location of Projects and Source W ater

Geowa Information Technologies, Ltd.

2004 - Alberta allocated 9.7 billion m3 Water Allocations in Alberta by Specified Use (Surface plus Groundwater, as of 2004)

Ag - Agricultural 1.8%

Ag - Irrigation 42.6%

Com - Commercial 6.4%

Com - Cooling 25.6%

Ind - Industrial (Oil,Gas) 5.3%

Ind - Drilling 0.14%

Ind - Injection 1.9%

Mun - Municipal 10.9%

Othr - Recreation 0.25%

Othr - Habitat 1.4%

Othr - Fish/Wildlife 0.31%

Othr - Water Mgmt. 3.3%

Othr - Other 0.03% To tal Licensed Vo lumes: 9,725,760,000 m³ (9,442,673,000 m³ Surface Water; 283,087,000 m³ Gro undwater)

Agriculture 44.4% ƒ Municipal 11%

Commercial 32% Oil&Gas 6.3%

Source Water Diversion for Oilfield Injection 1972 Oilfield Injection Total Volumes – Source Water

2001 Oilfield Injection Total Volumes – Source Water

Total Diversion = 69,497,060 m3

Total Diversion = 47,525,748 m3

Surface Water – 74% Non-Saline Groundwater – 24% Saline Groundwater – 2%

Surface Water – 57% Non-Saline Groundwater – 22% Saline Groundwater – 21%

Advisory Committee on Water Use Practice and Policy Recommendation “… a concerted effort must be made to reduce or eliminate, on a case-by-case basis, the use of non-saline water for underground injection.”

Advisory Committee on Water Use Practice and Policy ƒ Develop a more stringent regulatory process for underground injection applications and approvals. ƒ Identify and assess alternatives to nonsaline water sources (surface and groundwater). ƒ Review new applications and existing licences. ƒ Focus the highest urgency in “water short” areas, as part of ongoing water management planning

WATER SHORT AREAS •Areas naturally water short (less than 5 mm / yr runoff) •Development pressures (closed or potentially closed to new licences) •Potentially water short areas (yellow, orange)

Advisory Committee on Water Use Practice and Policy ƒ Incorporate oilfield use reduction strategies into the Provincial Water Conservation Plan to be overseen by the Alberta Water Council. ƒ Coordinate with the conservation schedule in Water for Life.

Implications for the Future ƒ Water Supply – tougher decisions to make because of limited and variable water supply, need to ensure maximum availability. ƒ Water Demand – need to start managing water demand as the population and economy continue to grow. ƒ Regional Differences – need provincial direction, regionally-based solutions. ƒ Planning and Decision-making – need better science-based information, improved reporting to the public, increased stakeholder and public involvement.