During the development of Water for Life strategy, Albertans stated that they wanted to be involved in water and watershed management decisions. The Government of Alberta agreed and provided clear direction in the strategy that water and watershed management is a shared responsibility to be carried out through partnerships with Albertans. To enable Albertans to be involved at the provincial, regional and local level, three types of partnerships were recognized: the Alberta Water Council, Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils, and Watershed Stewardship Groups. Each of these partnerships involves a cross-section of stakeholders working towards shared outcomes and goals. The Alberta Water Council works with the other partnerships that were created as a result of the Water for Life strategy as well as our sister organization, the Clean Air Strategic Alliance.
Watershed Stewardship Groups
Watershed stewardship groups (WSGs) take community-level action to safeguard our water sources. These groups are community, volunteer-based partnerships actively engaged in environmental stewardship of their watershed. They include individuals, organizations, agriculture, industry, municipalities and other forms of local government and set common goals to achieve shared outcomes.
Currently there are over 140 stewardship groups in Alberta undertaking a wide variety of activities. WSGs are supported by the Alberta Stewardship Network and Watershed Stewardship Grant, programs of the Land Stewardship Centre.
Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils
Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) are important stewards of Alberta's major watersheds. They are independent, non-profit organizations that are designated by Alberta Environment to assess the condition of their watershed and prepare plans to address watershed issues. They also conduct education and stewardship activities throughout their watershed. WPACs typically include representatives of key stakeholders in the watershed, including provincial, municipal and federal governments, important industrial sectors, conservation groups, and aboriginal communities. They engage watershed residents in their work and seek consensus on solutions to watershed issues.
Clean Air Strategic Alliance
The Clean Air Strategic Alliance is a sister organization to the Alberta Water Council. They are a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based partnership composed of representatives selected by industry, government and non-government stakeholders. All members have a vested interest in air quality. Their primary task is to conduct strategic air quality planning for Alberta by identifying priority issues and developing action plans that include economic and environmental consequences and expected outcomes. Where possible and appropriate, the Alberta Water Council and Clean Air Strategic Alliance work together to achieve common goals.