Drinking and Wastewater Systems

Where we are today

Standards for Alberta’s 600 drinking water and 590 wastewater management systems are among the most stringent in Canada. These standards and systems do not remain static. They change as knowledge and experience grow, and must adapt in order to serve a growing population and economy.

In the decades ahead, we must address a number of issues:

  • Sustainability: find ways to minimize and share cost of system upgrades and maintenance to meet evolving standards and demands.
  • Capacity: Address inequities causes by fragmented resource expertise so all Albertans benefit from a strongly managed water system – no matter where they live.
  • Governance: reduce inefficiencies of a system managed by multiple government departments with a more robust governance and regulatory approach.

Preparing for tomorrow

The integrity, dependability and sustainability of our water systems will depend on new and innovative approaches to meet evolving standards and demands, while minimizing costs to users.

One proposal is to shift towards geographical management, which could include:

  • Shared management: multiple water systems in a region managed more efficiently by a single, integrated authority.
  • Enhanced public oversight: create a new regulatory entity to ensure geographic management authorities comply with standards, regulate rates and be accountable to taxpayers.

Possible implications of this approach could include:

  • Investments needed to ensure water systems keep pace with changing standards and demands.
  • Legislative changes for the creation of a regulatory body to oversee geographic water management authorities.
  • Municipality roles may change from directly managing water systems to setting priorities and direction for geographic management authorities to implement.

Next Steps

Discussion guide

The consultation phase is now over.

Ideas shared during the community sessions, through emails and online workbook submissions are compiled into a Summary of Discussions report and led to the creation of the Water Conversation Action Plan. To review these documents, see:

Thank you for taking the time to join the Water Conversation.


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Updated: May 29, 2018