Municipal candidates overwhelmingly say information, consultation lacking on plans for water markets

Candidates running in municipal elections across Alberta overwhelmingly oppose the provincial government’s direction towards a provincial water market, and say they have not been sufficiently consulted as part of the current review of Alberta’s water allocation system, according to the results of an online survey conducted by the Our Water is Not For Sale network.

“These results clearly show that even though the provincial government has been carrying out its review of the Water Act for almost two years, they have failed miserably in engaging Albertans in the process,” says Scott Harris, Prairie Regional Organizer with the Council of Canadians, a member group of the network. “When almost all the candidates who responded say the government hasn’t done enough to engage municipal leaders and Albertans in the review, it’s clear that the provincial government isn’t serious about its long-delayed promise to give Albertans a real voice in how to manage their water.”

With more than 140 respondents across Alberta, 97.3% said that municipal leaders and Albertans have not been sufficiently informed about and consulted on the allocation review and the policy options available.

“Municipal leaders also said loudly that the direction the province is currently moving in is the wrong direction for our cities,” add Sheila Muxlow, Director of Sierra Club Prairie. “It’s obvious that they know how important water is to the long-term health of Alberta’s municipalities, and that a market-based allocation system will not adequately protect the water rights of our communities.”

Across Alberta:

  • 95.7% support official legal recognition of water as a human right
  • 97.3% said the province’s water allocation system should prioritize basic human needs and ecosystem health while respecting treaty obligations to First Nations
  • 88.6% said that based on their current knowledge they do not favour the province’s direction towards a water allocation system which would allocate water based on ability to pay and allow the market to determine access to water resources

“The good news is that 90% of candidates have promised that if elected they will publicly call for broad-based consultations that explore all policy options – not just water markets – before any changes are made,” concludes Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of Public Interest Alberta. “These leaders have said they want to see all the options and involve the public before the provincial government makes these irrevocable changes. It will be up to these municipal leaders and all Albertans to make sure that Minster Renner listens after October 18.”

Our Water Is Not For Sale is a growing network of organizations and individuals in Alberta which believes a new water allocation system must prioritize water for basic human needs, ensure ecosystem health and fully respect First Nations treaty rights. The full results of the survey, including individual candidate responses is available online at


Our Water is Not for Sale Media Contacts:

  • Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Public Interest Alberta
  • Sheila Muxlow, Sierra Club Prairie