About this work

In 2018, the Alberta Water Council (AWC) formed a project team to provide guidance on protecting sources of drinking water in Alberta. The project included surveying drinking water providers and assessing source water protection (SWP) practices, processes, risks, and initiatives in Alberta and resulted in the development of a Guide to Source Water Protection Planning, and a companion report.

The previous project found that while several communities have voluntarily developed SWP plans and several tools exist in Alberta to support SWP, there is a need for more efficient and timely access to data to support the risk assessment process. Furthermore, most municipalities and non-municipal drinking water providers in Alberta do not have the tools or capacity in-house to do SWP on their own, particularly small and rural communities.  

At the February 2021 board meeting, AWC members approved terms of reference for undertaking this important work. The work aims to develop increasing access to a suite of practical tools and resources to assist drinking water providers and local decision makers in Alberta to understand and assess risks to their drinking water sources. The main objectives for this project are:

  • Users and other stakeholders understand the need for SWP risk assessments and are aware of the SWP web platform.
  • An inventory of SWP data sources, risk assessment tools, and procedures.
  • An understanding of the capabilities of the web platform given technological and budget limitations.
  • A web platform that provides access to data to support the risk assessment process for SWP planning.
  • Awareness and experience among stakeholders and end users with the web platform, tools, and educational resources and their feedback on the project resources incorporated.
  • A final report on the web platform, resources, lessons learned, and recommendations for an implementation phase and a strategic plan for SWP in Alberta.
  • Effective communication of the project work and deliverables.

Key documents:

About Source Water Protection

Source water is untreated, raw water from surface or groundwater sources used for drinking water or other uses. Source Water Protection (SWP) is a risk management process. It is designed to maintain or improve conditions (quality and quantity) of water through proactive and collaborative identification, assessment, and management of risk. More information can be found on the US Environmental Protection Agency website and this video, developed by the Alberta Water Council.