There are opportunities to make the best use of the large amount of water that has already been allocated in closed basins or sub-basins:
- Mechanisms such as water allocation transfers to enable the re-distribution of water allocations through voluntary actions of licence holders; and
- Innovation and creativity of water users to improve water use conservation, efficiency and productivity (e.g., reduction of water loss from leaking pipes and
canals; reusing and recycling water).
Water allocation transfers
Alberta's Water Act allows the transfer of the right to divert a volume of water from a source of water supply, under a
certain priority. This type of transfer is voluntary, and involves two willing parties.
Water allocation transfers enable water users to manage their own risk in times of scarcity; allow new users to access water allocations in a "closed" basin; and,
provide incentives for water conservation among existing water users.
The Government of Alberta manages the transfer process through a number of control mechanisms. These require that transfers must first be authorized in an approved
water management plan or through an order of Cabinet. A transfer application must be reviewed by the Government of Alberta, which can withhold a percentage of the
transferred water to fulfill water conservation objectives.
Water allocation transfers were implemented in the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) in 2003, in response to limited water supplies. An approved water management
plan was required before any transfers could be authorized in the SSRB and over 30 have been completed since then.
Updated: Jan 9, 2015