The provincial government is investing more than $35 million to maximize how water is used and help prevent future droughts from impacting communities.  

“We must find new and better ways to reduce the impacts of droughts and make every drop of water count. That’s why we are taking action to improve wetlands and transform how water is managed in our province,” Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas said. “This funding would help maximize Alberta’s long-term water supply to ensure communities and businesses thrive.”  

As part of the $35 million, Budget 2024 includes $23 million over three years for improving the province’s water management system, increasing water availability for communities and businesses.   

The funding would be used to advance four pillars of the province’s water strategy:  

  1. Water storage: $4.5 million would be invested to study a new Ardley Water Reservoir in the Red Deer Basin. Alberta would also launch a province-wide review to determine other areas where new water storage projects would be most beneficial.  

  1. Water management: The province would conduct a detailed review of the current water management and regulatory system to identify new opportunities to better utilize water.  

  1. Water conservation: The province would work with water users and partners to identify new ways to improve water conservation, efficiency and productivity.  

  1. Real-time data and information: The province would continue modernizing Alberta’s water management information system to allow real-time, digital information that is available.  

The government is also investing $8.7 million for the Wetland Replacement Program and $3.5 million for the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program to improve the province’s natural drought protection.  

The Wetlands Replacement Program helps municipalities and not-for-profit organizations construct or restore wetlands in Alberta. The partners work with private or public landowners to restore wetlands that were previously drained, partially drained or filled-in, and to fund construction of new wetlands in appropriate sites.  

The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program provides grants to support projects that reduce the intensity, magnitude, duration and effects of flood and drought. Previous grants have helped restore riverbanks, stabilize stream banks, improve natural drainage and support outreach and public education.  

“The Bow River Basin Council applauds this investment. It would build upon previous work and maintain the momentum necessary to build resilience for our communities,” Mike Murray, executive director, Bow River Basin Council said. “The Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program and the Wetland Replacement Program have been key components in maintaining and improving Alberta’s natural drought protection.”