With record-low water levels throughout much of the province, including our region, the Alberta government has announced a $3.5-million investment in what it hopes will be the continuation of making the province more naturally drought resilient — helping to prevent floods and improve water quality.
On Jan. 16, it announced the awarding of eight grants, including one for $416,784 to the Oldman Watershed Council.
The council, which monitors the Oldman River Basin, is receiving the money for a project called Recovering Natural and Community Assets in the Oldman Watershed.
“The project will focus on natural infrastructure education and restoration to support communities impacted by drought,” said a government release.
It’s welcome news for the Oldman Watershed Council’s executive director.
“This vital grant will boost community resilience across the Oldman watershed at a critical time when southwest Alberta is facing extreme drought conditions,” said Shannon Frank.
“It will allow us to restore the essential natural infrastructure that reduces drought impacts for those being affected the most — agricultural producers, First Nations and municipalities.”
Provincial Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz feels it’s never been more important. Her government has already put up $46.5 million to address the crisis.
“By working with local communities and partners, we are helping mitigate the impact of future floods and droughts in communities across the province while creating healthier water bodies for future generations,” she said.
The minister is encouraging environmental groups and local governments to apply for funding under the province’s Watershed Resiliency and Restoration umbrella.
The next application deadline is Sept. 15.