Preparing for Drought in Alberta
Alberta has instituted a new, six person Water Advisory Committee to help prepare for drought in 2024 and maximize the province's water supplies.
After several dry years, Alberta's winter snowpack is well below average overall. Many rivers are at record low levels and multiple reservoirs remain well below capacity. El Niño is producing a warm and dry winter across Western Canada and more than 70% of the country is experiencing drought conditions. Alberta is at risk of a severe drought in parts of the province this year, a scenario which many in Northern Alberta have become increasingly familiar with.
The advisory committee includes leaders with experience in agriculture, irrigation, culture, industry, rural, and urban issues and will operate for one year. They will act as an independent sounding board to help the government support communities, including our valued farmers, ranchers, and businesses, in sharing, conserving, and managing water during a potential drought. The committee will provide advice directly to Alberta's Minister of Environment and Protected Areas.
In the coming months, the Water Advisory Committee will meet regularly to discuss ideas on how best to prepare for and respond to drought, as well as give feedback on work already underway and suggest new ways to manage water as fairly and efficiently as possible. The work aims to help identify long-term solutions to benefit future generations.
The Water Advisory Committee will include the following members:
- Justin Wright, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat
- Paul McLauchlin, Reeve of Ponoka County and President of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA)
- Ian Anderson, former CEO of Trans Mountain
- Alex Ostrop, Chair of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association
- Jack Royal, CEO of the Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council
- Tanya Thorn, Mayor of Okotoks and Director of Towns South on the board of Alberta Municipalities
Alberta's government are committed to continuing to work with municipalities, farmers, industry, First Nations communities and others to help prepare for the risk of severe drought.
For more information on drought in Alberta, please visit the Government of Alberta website at www.alberta.ca/drought
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