EPCOR joins an international effort to protect water

EDMONTON, March 19 /CNW/ - As part of its effort to increase the public's understanding of water scarcity issues in Canada, EPCOR Utilities Inc. will give its support to the United Nations' Water for Life program.

For the next three years, the Canadian arm of the program will be called the EPCOR Chair in support of the United Nations' Water for Life Decade of Action initiative in Canada.

"Growing populations, heavy agricultural and industrial withdrawals, and climate change effects on water supply will make it necessary to manage water in far more efficient ways in the future," said Bob Sandford, Director of the Western Watersheds Climate Research Collaborative, who currently holds the chair.

"EPCOR is taking a significant leadership role by thinking about these water issues on a national scale, staying on top of changing hydrological trends and investing in research to plan for Canada's future water interests," said Sandford. "By supporting research and by bringing international examples to bear on our circumstance, we can help Canada avoid water scarcity so that it does not limit our social and economic future."

EPCOR's support will help advance new research initiatives and analysis that will link research outcomes to practical and timely public policy options. Sandford will also focus on reaching and educating more people about the Canadian Partnership Initiative on the United Nations Water for Life Decade and its goals.

"We are pleased to support the United Nations' Water for Life effort in Canada because EPCOR is committed to creating holistic water solutions which will protect the watershed and to finding innovative reuse opportunities to reduce fresh water consumption," said Joe Gysel, EPCOR Senior Vice-President Water Development. "For instance, in lieu of fresh water, EPCOR currently moves up to 15 million litres per day of membrane-treated wastewater from our Gold Bar Wastewater Treatment Plant for industrial purposes. This use of treated wastewater replaces the need for fresh water for industrial processes, with a net benefit to the North Saskatchewan River."

As part of World Water Day (declared by the United Nations as March 22), Sandford will be participating in a public water discussion on Communicating Water Quality Challenges and Opportunities. The panel discussion is co-sponsored by University of British Columbia - Okanagan and Okanagan Basin Water Board.

    
    Date:      Monday, March 22, 2010
    Time:      10:45 a.m.
    Location:  Manteo Resort,
               3766 Lakeshore Road
               Kelowna, BC
    

EPCOR is a member of a number of initiatives to protect water resources in Alberta, including the North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance, which is mandated to protect and improve the viability of aquatic ecosystems. For more information on EPCOR's water protection efforts, check www.epcor.ca.

About EPCOR Utilities Inc.

EPCOR's wholly owned subsidiaries build, own and operate electrical transmission and distribution networks, water and wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure. EPCOR, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, is an Alberta Top 50 employer. EPCOR's website is www.epcor.ca

BACKGROUNDER

EPCOR supports United Nations water initiative

United Nations' Decade for Action

In December 2003, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years 2005 to 2015 as the "Water for Life" International Decade for Action. The primary goals of the Water for Life decade are to:

    
        -  promote efforts to fulfill international commitments made on water
           and water-related issues;
        -  reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe
           drinking water or basic sanitation; and
        -  stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources.
    

More information is available at: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/

What is the EPCOR Chair in support of the United Nations' Water for Life Decade of Action initiative in Canada?

It is a national partnership initiative that aims to advance long-term water quality and availability issues in response to climate change in Canada and abroad.

Background on Bob Sandford

Bob Sandford began his work with UN initiatives in 2002 as Chair of the United Nations International Year of Mountains. He was also chair of the United Nations International Year of Fresh Water and Wonder of Water Initiative in Canada in 2003 - 2004.

Sandford's work includes establishing a research network examining climate change impacts on snow pack and snow cover at upper elevations in the Rocky Mountains. This information will assist EPCOR in forecasting water supply, and understanding water security challenges in the future. This initiative, referred to as the "Canadian Rockies Snow and Ice Initiative" is in partnership with the Biogeoscience Institute at the University of Calgary and the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

More information is available at: www.rwsandford.ca/

Why is EPCOR involved?

EPCOR's involvement will allow the Canadian Partnership Initiative in support of the United Nations Water for Life Decade - and the research and education programs that have been created through it - to reach more people with important new information about our water resources. This support will also keep one more avenue open for Canada to participate on the global stage with respect to solutions to the growing global water crisis.

SOURCE EPCOR Utilities Inc.

For further information: For further information: Tim le Riche, Corporate Communications, EPCOR, (780) 969-8238, Cell (780) 721-2013, tleriche@epcor.ca

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