Alberta is concerned about a potential drought.
The province says at this point the winter snowpack is well below average, with many rivers reported to be at record low levels and multiple reservoirs sitting at well below capacity.
Alberta’s new Water Advisory Committee is a six-person advisory committee tasked with helping to prepare for a drought.
The committee is made up of a wide range of individuals and leaders with experience in agriculture, irrigation, Indigenous, industry, rural and urban issues.
The Water Advisory Committee will include:
Justin Wright, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat
Paul McLauchlin, reeve of Ponoka County and president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta
Ian Anderson, former CEO of Trans Mountain
Alex Ostrop, chair of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association
Jack Royal, CEO of the Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council
Tanya Thorn, mayor of Okotoks and director, Towns South on the board of Alberta Municipalities
The group will be an independent sounding board for the province working with communities, farmers, ranchers, and businesses focusing on developing ways to share, conserve, and manage water during a potential drought.
The committee will give advice directly to Alberta’s Minister of Environment and protected areas.
The province says in the coming months, the Water Advisory Committee will meet regularly to discuss and debate ideas on how best to prepare for and respond to drought, give feedback on work already underway and suggest new ways to help manage water as fairly and efficiently as possible.
The new Water Advisory Committee will also help identify long-term solutions.
Alberta isn't the only area of concern, the Federal Government's drought map for January 31, 2024, shows 70 percent of the country was classified as abnormally dry or in moderate to exceptional drought including 81 per cent of the country’s agricultural landscape.