Healthy Lakes

Where we are today

Most of Alberta’s lakes are naturally rich in nutrients. The variation of Alberta’s climate and landscape alter the composition of our lakes, affecting their natural quality, nutrient content and colour.

As a result, our lakes are easily impacted when they receive additional nutrients. These changes can alter water quality and aquatic communities, causing algae blooms or growth of large aquatic plants, which may make them less aesthetically appealing or difficult to enjoy.

Variation in nutrient levels can happen naturally through organic decomposition, or by human-related factors, such as:

  • changes in land cover
  • vegetation removal
  • agricultural activity
  • shoreline development
  • sewage
  • outputs and runoff from urban settings

Preparing for tomorrow

Our lakes are important provincial assets. They play a vital role in our ecosystems and are used by municipalities, industries, farmers, homeowners, recreationalists and tourists.

A province-wide approach is needed to ensure all our lakes are managed effectively and consistently to maintain and improve their health. One proposed direction is to develop a provincial framework to guide lake management decisions, which would:

  • Support lake management and funding.
  • Tailor actions to suit local needs and priorities while aligning with provincial social, economic and environmental objectives.
  • Clarify roles of lake management authorities.
  • Be developed in consultation with key water management stakeholders.

Implementing a provincial framework would have some implications, including:

  • Work required to manage impacts and mitigate additional pressures placed on our lakes by population and economic growth.
  • The need for legislative changes such as improved septic and land development regulations.
  • Require options to support the additional resources needed to implement a provincial framework approach.

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