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NEWS: Groups say Alberta water consultation ‘almost meaningless’

The Edmonton Journal reports, “Conservation groups say a survey on water doesn’t give Albertans a meaningful opportunity to participate in policy discussions. Earlier this month, Alberta Environment announced it would spend $1 million on province-wide consultations that will guide how water is used in Alberta for the next 50 years. It suggested the opinions gathered through public forums will be used to design a new water strategy.”

“On Wednesday, several groups working on water issues in the province said the online survey attached to the water talks is ‘so vague as to be almost meaningless’. It asks questions such as whether people support making it easier to share water with other users.”

“‘This ridiculous survey will only serve to muddy the waters,’ Bill Moore-Kilgannon, executive director of Public Interest Alberta, one of the five groups raising concerns about the survey, said in a news release Tuesday. Others include the Council of Canadians, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Keepers of the Athabasca and Water Matters Society of Alberta.”

Council of Canadians organizer Scott Harris comments, “Albertans who have waited for years for promised consultations on the future of water in Alberta are going to be extremely frustrated when they see what the government has come up with. Fifteen online questions, many of which bundle a range of policy options into ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ options and are so vague as to be almost meaningless, is hardly the broad and meaningful consultations Albertans deserve.”

The article notes, “The survey is available online, while the water talks begin Tuesday in Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. The consultations will continue for the next month in cities and towns across the province of Alberta — including Okotoks on Feb. 27, Calgary on March 20 and Canmore on March 21.”

The media release from the five groups can be read at http://canadians.org/media/water/2013/13-Feb-13.html.

For more, please see:
– NEWS: PIA & Council of Canadians say Alberta ‘Water Conversation’ little more than government PR effort, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18788.
– NEWS: Public consultations on water management in Alberta expected soon, http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16990