Blog | July 12, 2013

By Collete Derworiz, Calgary HeraldCALGARY — A new poll suggest most Albertans want the province to protect the health of rivers and ensure water is used for people before industry.The survey, released Thursday by a coalition of groups concerned about water in the province, was conducted between June 14 and June 20 to determine the level of support for Alberta’s water talks held earlier this spring. The provincewide consultations, which cost $1 million, were being used to determine how water is used in Alberta for the next 50 years.Opinions gathered at the public forums in 20 towns and cities are being used to design a new water strategy.But the poll shows that 80 per cent of Albertans weren’t even aware of the consultations.Eighty-three per cent of those surveyed said the province needs to have a water allocation system that prioritizes the health of rivers based on scientific requirements.“Albertans would rather have a system based on a public interests approach that prioritizes certain uses and makes sure that ecosystem health is a priority, that human needs are given priority,” said Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta.There were also concerns that water could be sold under the revised plan.Officials with Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development emphasized there’s no plan to sell Alberta’s water.“We want to emphasize that water is not for sale to other jurisdictions and that was made very clear from the start of the water conversations,” Wayne Wood, press secretary to Minister Diana McQueen, said in an emailed response to the Herald’s query.He didn’t address whether water would be able to be sold as part of an existing water licence, but he noted it’s too early to judge the outcome of the talks.“No policy decisions have yet been made as a result of the conversations and no final decisions have yet been made,” Wood said. The poll, which is available in full at ourwaterisnotforsale.com, was conducted by Environics Research Group. It surveyed 831 Albertans and is considered accurate plus or minus 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.cderworiz@calgaryherald.comRead the article at The Calgary Herald.