Alberta Water Council invites input on renewal of Water for Life strategy



    EDMONTON, June 28 /CNW/ - Albertans are invited to share ideas and input
on Water for Life as part of a process to review and renew the provincial
water strategy to ensure it is effectively managing and sustaining Alberta's
water supply.
    The Alberta Water Council - the multi-stakeholder partnership group
responsible for overseeing the implementation of Water for Life - has
developed a workbook questionnaire to seek input from key stakeholders and
sectors involved and affected by water management in the province.
    The workbook focuses on the outcomes and actions in the three-year old
water strategy to assess whether the strategy is working, whether it is still
relevant, and where the priorities are for the future. Members of the public
are also invited to complete the workbook on-line up to August 24, 2007.
    The Council is leading the renewal at the request of Alberta Environment
Minister Rob Renner. The renewal is part of Premier Ed Stelmach's Mandate
Letter to Minister Renner, and a priority for Government.
    Renner said the renewal is an important step to ensuring the provincial
water strategy remains relevant and effective.
    "This renewal is about making a good strategy better, and ensuring its
goals are relevant as the province and our economy grows," said Renner. "I'm
pleased the Alberta Water Council has agreed to lead the Water for Life
renewal and I look forward to receiving the Council's recommendations so we
can ensure the province's priorities for water management are on the right
track."
    On May 1, the Council released its second report on progress on
implementation of the strategy, which includes a full evaluation and some
specific recommendations on priorities and areas needing more attention and
focus as the government moves ahead.
    "Based on our recent review and other evaluations, there is consensus
that work on the Water for Life is well underway and much has been
accomplished in the past three years. However, in our report, we also
identified some gaps and some opportunities based on changing circumstances
that need to be addressed," said Bill Berzins, Chair of the Bow River Basin
Council and a member of the Alberta Water Council. "So while we believe we
have an understanding of what needs to be done, we also feel it is important
to validate our recommendations, and at the same time seek any new ideas on
renewing - but not re-doing - Water for Life."
    Kirk Popik, who represent the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
(AUMA) on the project team for the Water for Life renewal, said it is
important that Albertans, and specifically sectoral stakeholders, have a voice
in the process.
    "Because water management is everyone's responsibility, as we define
specific recommendations on renewal, Albertans need to have an opportunity to
provide educated, informed input on the water strategy," said Popik. "We
believe seeking additional input and ideas will help ensure they are indeed
best and most effective recommendations we can make to the Minister and the
Government."
    The Council will be conducting the renewal process over the next six
months, and providing recommendations to the Minister in early 2008.
    The renewal workbook questionnaire, along with more information on the
Council and Water for Life, can be found at www.waterforlife.gov.ab.ca/awc/

    Established in 2004, the Alberta Water Council is a multi-stakeholder
partnership with 25 members from governments, industry, and non-government
organizations. Its primary task is to monitor and steward implementation of
the Water for Life strategy and to champion achievement of the strategy's
three outcomes of a safe, secure drinking water supply, healthy aquatic
ecosystems, and reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.





For further information:

For further information: Bill Berzins, Alberta Water Council, (403)
807-2782, billberzins@fossilwater.ca; Erin Carrier, Alberta Environment, (780)
427-6267, erin.carrier@gov.ab.ca

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Alberta Water Council

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