Water Law

An Introduction to Water Law

After oxygen, water is probably the most important thing that any of us, human or animal, will ingest today. It keeps us and the environment around us healthy and ultimately alive. In Canada, we often take our water for granted, we seem to have a lot of it and most of us have access to …


Water Law

As Albertans, we rely on our surface water for our quality of life. This water “supplies our drinking water, drives our industry, supplies our recreation, feeds our groundwater, and grows our crop. It maintains fisheries and is essential to Alberta’s biodiversity.” [1] With all of these critical uses, it would be surprising if any of …


What laws exist to manage and protect our water?

Water Act [1]:  The Water Act is Alberta’s current water management legislation. This Act came into force on January 1, 1999, and focuses primarily on the planning for and enforcement of water use in Alberta. Some of the main features of the Water Act are outlined below: It defines a ‘body of water’ as “any …


Where did these laws come from? – A brief history of water law in Alberta

Due to our history as a British and French colony, Canada got its first set of colonial laws (as we formally know them today) from Britain and France. [1] After the Battle of Quebec, the majority of Canada fell under English common law while Quebec remained under the French civil system. [2] At the time …


Wetlands

In their Wetland Identification Directive, Alberta Environment and Parks defined wetlands as land saturated with water for long enough to promote the formation of water altered soils, the growth of water tolerant vegetation and biological activity adapted to a wet environment. [1] More specifically, according to the Wetland Restoration Directive used by Alberta Environment and …


Water Licences

As you are now aware, the Crown (or government) retains ownership of all water bodies in the province of Alberta. [1] But if this is the case, how exactly do those people who need more water than you can get out of the regular kitchen faucet get access to water for their own needs? For …


Water for Life Principles, the Alberta Water Council and what we can do to improve…

Water for Life is the Alberta Government’s strategy for water, which builds upon the principles of water conservation and management enumerated in the Water Act. [1] It was first introduced in 2003 and, although it is policy and therefore unenforceable, it can influence government decision-making including decisions about water quality and quantity, as well as …


Section Review

Now that you have finished this section on Water, you should be comfortable: Identifying some of the main pieces of legislation governing water resources in the province Understanding the context and history of current water law in Alberta Describing the Alberta Wetland Policy Understanding the water licensing system Debating how to assign new water licences …


 

Water Law

Curriculum Connections

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