Three Goals and Three Key Directions

The Water for Life strategy contains three goals and three key directions that form the basis for policy direction and reflect social, economic, and environmental influences that shape Water for Life. The goals and key directions are further broken down into short, medium, and long-term actions.


Safe, Secure Drinking Water

Clean supplies of drinking water are vital to public health and over all prosperity. In some respects it is also the ultimate end product of responsible water management. In emphasizing drinking water as one of the three goals, the Water for Life strategy commits the Government of Alberta to maintaining not only the capital infrastructure that supports drinking water treatment and distribution, but also the sources of that water. Water also returns to the environment as "waste water", the quality of which must be maintained to avoid negative effects on ecosystems.

Healthy aquatic ecosystems

Achieving healthy aquatic ecosystems is one of the most challenging goals of the Water for Life strategy. Defining what a healthy aquatic ecosystem looks like (including measurable criteria) is not easy. A variety of information is required before decisions can be made. Building that knowledge, filling in information gaps, considering new facets of inquiry and reconsidering old ones, has been time consuming yet necessary if we hope to understand the true value of intricate ecosystems.

Reliable quality water supplies for a sustainable economy

The amount of water required by the economy must be balanced against the amount necessary to support sustainable ecosystems and human health. Water is part of the economy and part of the quality of life. Key components include improvements in surface and groundwater management, as well as consideration of transfer and use systems (for example, dams, irrigation canals, and water licences).

Key directions

Knowledge and Research

Knowledge requirements involve both improving scientific understanding and informing interested parties to help them make effective policy and management decisions. Knowledge and information sharing encourages community collaboration and creates empowered partnerships. Educational tools and strategies complement Water for Life actions.


Citizens, communities, industries, and government all share responsibility for the wise use and sustainability of their watersheds. Often, the people who are immediately affected by specific water issues can also directly and effectively find solutions to address those issues. The Water for Life strategy identifies three types of partnerships integral to achieving successful stewardship of water resources. These include: Alberta Water Council, Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils, and Watershed Stewardship Groups.

Water Conservation

Within each watershed a limited amount of water can be withdrawn while still maintaining a healthy aquatic ecosystem. The solution to water quantity challenges lies in a combination of improving the ability to capture and store water during high flow periods, as well as improving water practices through conservation, efficiency, and productivity efforts.


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Posted: Mar 3, 2013