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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water Act Enforcement Kind of Slow by Alberta Government

It is good to see that the provisions of the Water Act in Alberta are being enforced.
Water is a critical issue for Albertans in so many ways including environmentally, socially as well as economically.  There are lots of politics involved too, including agricultural, conservation and wildlife habitat concerns.  Water is a serious complex issue for all Albertans beyond the oil sands uses.

There is a serious water shortage currently and even more coming in southern Alberta and abuses like this example by this company in Calgary is not helpful.  I can't understand why there is no fine and why it took almost 4 years from September 2006 when the company was informed to change is water sources.   Now they have given them over three more months to find an alternative water source and then all the way to Feb 1, 2011 to get the proper authorization for and implementation of the alternative water supply.  Seems Albertans are entitled to a bit more information as to why this abuse of water sources took so long to enforce and why the finding and implementing of alternative sources seem to be not a matter of urgency.

Kind of ironic when the Alberta government news release closes on this matter with the line: "Enforcement orders are issued under the authority of Alberta's Water Act and are designed to ensure immediate action is taken to correct the situation. (Emphasis added) Seems like there is no sense of urgency here nor has the offence resulted in any punishment of the company.

Hardly a message that abuse of our water legislation carries serious consequences.  One thing we have to be careful of as citizens is that while government that is too big is a waste and often an interference, too small a government is incapable of doing the job we as citizens expect of it.  This is not a question of balance between big and small government.  It is a question of ensuring governments are properly resources in staff and expertise to do the job we expect of them.