Reviewing the Implementation Progress of the Strategy


Water is not only a resource, it is a life source. We all share the responsibility to ensure a healthy, secure, and sustainable water supply for our communities, the environment, and the economy. The Water for Life strategy outlines the Government of Alberta’s commitments to manage and safeguard Alberta’s water resources. The strategy has been the vehicle for managing Alberta’s water resources since its release in 2003. 

One of the Alberta Water Council (AWC)’s primary goals is to periodically review and provide advice on the implementation progress of Water for Life. The AWC has achieved this through a standing committee, which convenes every few years to review progress and provide strategic advice to AWC members. There have been five reviews to date:

  1. 2004 - 2005 
  2. 2005 - 2006
  3. 2006 - 2008
  4. 2009 - 2011
  5. 2012- 2015 (appendices C and D available here)

Since 2008, the committee has operated under a standing terms of reference and companion “how-to” guide. During the 2012 to 2015 review, the AWC noted a need to revisit the approach, particularly how the information is gathered, what advice emerges from the review, and how this advice is incorporated in decision making. The approach needed to be updated to reflect how Water for Life is administered by the Government of Alberta and the roles of new and emerging groups in the water management system. As such, as part of the 2016 to 2019 review, the “how-to” guide was updated to reflect the current realities of Water for Life implementation. The 2012 to 2015 review prompted the Council to consider developing and tracking performance metrics for Water for Life goals as reflected in the AWC’s 2019–2021 Business Plan. A consultant was hired assist with developing a suite of indicators, but the pandemic prevented them from testing them.

About the 2016 - 2019 Review

In the most recent review, the AWC found that the actions outlined in the Government of Alberta’s Water for Life: action plan are largely complete, and several actions have become part of daily business for people working in water management and stewardship across the province. It noted that significant progress has been made toward the three goals outlined in Water for Life while recognizing that some areas (e.g., Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems) require more attention.

After gathering and synthesizing information, the Council made the following 15 recommendations to improve Water for Life implementation as well as water and watershed management in Alberta. To read about the recommendations and learn more about water stewardship in the Alberta, read the full Water for Life Implementation Review 2016 to 2019 report below.

Key Documents

The following documents resulted from this important work and can be used as reference material:

Project Documents

Final Report

For information about this work, please contact Operations Manager Anuja Hoddinott at [email protected] 

To gain more insight into Water for Life and AWC’s role with periodically reviewing its progress, check out this video: