February 5, 2007

Water Council to review policy on water transfers within a single basin

EDMONTON, ALTA-The Alberta Water Council, an independent, multi-stakeholder expert group, has been asked by Environment Minister Rob Renner to review the province's water management policy governing criteria for transferring water between rivers within the same major basin. Current policy permits this type of transfer as long as the water is safely available from the source and the new withdrawal does not affect existing licensed water users. "A recent water licence application raised significant public concern about the movement of water from one sub-basin to another within the same major river basin," Renner explained. Consequently, he said, "I have asked the Alberta Water Council to determine if the current approach is still valid and what, if any, changes should be made to this policy and under what conditions." The Council is expected to provide its recommendations to the Environment Minister this fall. In the meantime, Alberta Environment will continue to accept and process Water Act applications. Transfers between rivers in the same basin are not considered interbasin transfers, which require special approval. The Alberta Water Council was appointed in May 2004 to provide direction and advice to the government, stakeholders and the public around Water for Life: Alberta's Strategy for Sustainability. More information is available on the strategy Web site, www.waterforlife.gov.ab.ca.

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