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Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability presented to Prairie Water Policy Symposium Beverly Yee, Assistant Deputy Minister Alberta Environment September.

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Presentation on theme: "Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability presented to Prairie Water Policy Symposium Beverly Yee, Assistant Deputy Minister Alberta Environment September."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability presented to Prairie Water Policy Symposium Beverly Yee, Assistant Deputy Minister Alberta Environment September 23, 2005

2 Need for a New Approach  We face changing and challenging times – the way we manage the environment must respond to those changes and challenges.  Significant drivers for change u Economic and population growth u Complexity of environmental issues u Information and knowledge u Public expectations u Ability to control environmental outcomes u Traditional systems

3 Systems Approach Key elements of a systems approach are: u environmental outcomes that are agreed to across government and amongst stakeholders u policies that are integrated across all media (land, air and water) and across government departments u shared delivery of programs to better manage and protect the environment u good information and knowledge to support decision-making u monitoring, validation and reporting of results to the public on achievement of environmental outcomes

4 Five Strategic Shifts  Government-wide vision and shared implementation across ministries  Shared responsibility with communities, organizations, technical experts and individuals  A place-based approach, across all media, looking at cumulative impacts  A comprehensive, flexible set of regulatory and non-regulatory tools and incentives  Continuous improvement in environmental performance and accountability

5  Developed with Albertans, released in November 2003  Dialogue on issues was very important  Results: u increased awareness and understanding of water-related issues u sense of shared responsibility by Albertans u comprehensive, long-term strategy focused on sustainability Water for Life

6 Water for Life Signals a Change  From process to outcomes  From water management to watershed management  From regulating to shared governance

7 Water for Life - Outcomes  Safe, secure drinking water supply  Healthy aquatic ecosystems  Reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy  agreed-to outcomes

8 Water for Life – Key Directions  Knowledge and research  Partnerships for watershed management and stewardship  Water conservation

9 Safe, Secure Drinking Water Supply  Drinking water facility assessment completed  Priority on regional water/wastewater systems  Source protection  Continuously improving standards  Health surveillance system for waterborne diseases  Report the quality of drinking water  shared delivery of programs  continuous improvement  monitoring and reporting

10 Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems  Wetland policy and inventory  Determine aquatic ecosystem requirements u What threshold amount of water is needed for a healthy aquatic ecosystem? u What are the incremental benefits of more water in rivers? u What are the incremental benefits of withdrawing more water?  Monitor and report on the state of aquatic ecosystems  good information and knowledge  monitoring and reporting

11 Reliable, Quality Water Supplies  Evaluation of water storage sites  Transboundary agreements u International Joint Commission u Prairie Provinces Water Board u Mackenzie River Basin Board  Water allocation transfers  flexible tools  integrated policies

12 Knowledge and Research  Knowledge to make good decisions: u Scientific knowledge of groundwater and surface water resources u Understanding needs of aquatic ecosystems  Research on emerging issues: u Climate change u Impact of pharmaceuticals  Alberta Water Council developing a water research strategy  good information and knowledge

13 Partnerships for Watershed Management  Three types of partnerships that have distinct roles and are complementary to one another.  Alberta Water Council - provincial  Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils - regional  Watershed Stewardship Groups - local  shared responsibility  place-based approach

14 Shared Governance for Effective Water Management  Alberta Water Council:  Advise on provincial water management issues  Steward implementation of Water Strategy  Develop approach to water conservation  Identify research priorities  Wetland policy

15 Shared Governance for Effective Water Management  Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) u Develop watershed management plans - must be integrated to include quantity, quality, ecosystem health, source protection and land use impacts. u Promote best management practices. u Report on state of the watershed. WPACs in place WPACs in development OldmanLesser SlavePeace BowBattleAthabasca North Saskatchewan Cold Lake-Beaver River Red Deer

16 Shared Governance for Effective Water Management  Watershed Stewardship Groups  Educate Albertans and raise awareness on the watersheds they live in.  Undertake stewardship activities to improve and protect watersheds.

17 Water Conservation  Ensure water efficiency and productivity improves by 30% improvement from 2005 levels by 2015  Sector plans for water use improvements (Advisory Committee on Water Use Practice and Policy)  Full cost accounting  Determination of the value of water in Alberta’s economy  Investigation of the merits of economic instruments  shared responsibility  flexible tools  integrated policy

18 Lessons Learned - Successes  Outcomes come first!  Breadth and depth of engagement of stakeholders  Public support – working with the media  Educating the decision-makers  Cross-Ministry buy-in  Shared governance model  Shift to watershed management

19 Lessons Learned - Challenges  Monitoring, validation and reporting of results  Capacity-building – internal and external  Cross-Ministry coordination of implementation

20 What has changed with Water for Life? FROMTO Government policies and direction not fully integrated Clear, government-wide policy, directions and outcomes Traditional command and control regulatory system Much broader, innovative tools and approaches Desire by Albertans to be involved in their community Albertans have a greater opportunity to be meaningfully involved (local, regional, provincial) Pockets of alliances with stakeholders that achieve results Broad-based alliances with all parts of society to share responsibilities for outcomes Meeting environmental standards Sustainability drives continuous improvement approaches Goal: A management system that results in improved environmental quality and sustainability.

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