Alberta confronts ongoing water crisis amid escalating drought conditions

A severe drought in southern Alberta is testing the limits of water sustainability as government and experts tackle the challenge.

Drew Anderson reports for The Narwhal.


In short:

  • Southern Alberta's drought has intensified due to increased irrigation for agriculture, straining water supplies from the Rocky Mountains.
  • Alberta's government plans to implement large water-sharing agreements, though they have been criticized as inadequate.
  • Experts warn of long-term water shortages, stressing the need for systemic changes to manage water resources effectively.

Key quote:

“We actually have greater draws or need for the water than we do the amount of water that comes in naturally to these watersheds.”

— Tricia Stadnyk, professor of engineering and geography at the University of Calgary

Why this matters:

Agriculture is a significant economic driver in Southern Alberta, and it depends heavily on consistent water availability. Drought conditions can lead to crop failures, reduced yields and increased economic pressures on farmers and the communities that depend on them. The oil and gas industry is another big consumer of water in the province.

Extreme weather and temperature swings are estimated to cut major crop production by 23% over the next 30 years, scientists warn.

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