Drought preparations underway for 2024

The prospect of Alberta experiencing large-scale drought and water scarcity in 2024 is looming large as the new year begins.

Environment and Protected Areas Minister Rebecca Schulz sent a letter to all elected municipal leaders in late December 2023 stressing the importance of preparing for severe drought in 2024.

Alberta currently sits at Stage 4 on the provincial government’s five-stage water shortage management scale, signifying that the province is experiencing a large-scale water shortage. So far, the winter has been milder than usual with below average amounts of precipitation.

The provincial government has created a Drought Command Team and drafted a 2024 Drought Emergency Plan. Minister Schulz has asked municipalities for help. Specifically, every municipality is asked to:

  • Initiate efforts to monitor water supply infrastructure proactively, paying particular attention to water intake relative to water levels. 
  • Begin a review of the terms of the municipality’s water licence to ensure officials are aware of any conditions that may limit the community’s ability to withdraw water during a drought.
  • Alert municipal water managers to prepare to be engaged with officials from the Drought Command Team, should conditions within municipal water licences need to be triggered.
  • Develop a municipal water shortage plan so the community is ready to respond if water availability decreases.

Alberta Municipalities has been working on water-related issues for more than a decade. We are currently reviewing all water policies and have prioritized updating our water conservation targets to encourage further water conservation. Click here to learn more about ABmunis' ongoing water management efforts.

Minister Schulz’s letter and additional information can be found on the Government of Alberta's website.

Questions can be directed to epa.drought [at] gov.ab.ca or to kris [at] abmunis.ca (Kris Samraj), Policy Analyst, at Alberta Municipalities.