Voluntary plans expected to improve water use

EDMONTON, June 18, 2013 /CNW/ - Seven sectors that account for most of the water allocated in Alberta now have formal plans that will help achieve an important outcome of the province's Water for Life strategy - a 30% improvement in overall efficiency and productivity of water use by 2015.

A new report by the Alberta Water Council describes the plans and the role the Council played, and identifies some of the challenges in plan preparation. The Council has been actively involved since 2006 in advancing water conservation, efficiency and productivity planning. For this project, it provided a forum for sectors to exchange ideas, discuss experiences and challenges, and receive multi-stakeholder advice as they developed their plans. All seven sectors (Chemical Producers, Downstream Petroleum Products, Forestry, Irrigation, Power Generation, Upstream Oil and Gas (including oil sands), and Urban Municipalities) are represented on the Council. In accordance to the approved process, neither the Council nor Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development were required to approve the sector plans.

The plans contain targets and benchmarks that reflect the unique circumstances of each sector and identify a range of opportunities for sector members to contribute to achieving the overall conservation goals in the Water for Life strategy. "We are delighted with the leadership shown by sectors in preparing these plans. Many of the voluntary targets were deliberately set to stretch the sectors and their members and, to our knowledge, no other jurisdiction has taken this approach," says Council Executive Director, Gord Edwards. All sectors will report back to the Council on implementation progress by the end of 2015, emphasizing, among other things, their success in meeting the stated targets and how these contribute to achieving Water for Life goals.

The report, Sector Planning for Water Conservation, Efficiency and Productivity, contains three recommendations, two of which pertain to the timing and focus of the progress reports. The third will see the establishment of a new multi-stakeholder team to determine how to measure overall success of the plans in helping to achieve the 30% improvement in efficiency and productivity of water use by 2015.

For more information on the Alberta Water Council and the report, visit www.awchome.ca.

Established in 2004, the Alberta Water Council is a multi-stakeholder partnership with 24 members from governments, industry, and non-government organizations. Its primary task is to monitor and steward implementation of Alberta's Water for Life strategy and to champion the 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.

SOURCE: Alberta Water Council

For further information:

Gord Edwards, Executive Director, Alberta Water Council, (780) 644-7373

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