Today, the Alberta Government announced that Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn is one of six people appointed to Alberta’s new Water Advisory Committee. This committee will help Alberta prepare for drought and work to make every drop count in 2024. They will act as an independent sounding board to help the provincial government support communities, farmers and ranchers, and businesses share, conserve, and manage water during a potential drought. The committee will give advice directly to Alberta’s minister of environment and protected areas.
“I am pleased to have been appointed to this committee and look forward to contributing to the advancement water management in our province," says Mayor Thorn. "Water is our most precious commodity and Okotoks has been a provincial leader in water conservation for over 20 years. The year ahead will require all of us to work together.”
After several dry years, Alberta’s winter snowpack is well below average, many rivers are at record low levels and multiple reservoirs remain well below capacity. El Niño is producing a warm and dry winter across Western Canada and more than 70 per cent of the country is experiencing drought conditions. Alberta is at risk of a severe drought in parts of the province this year.
The province’s Water Advisory Committee will meet regularly to discuss and debate ideas on how best to prepare for and respond to drought, give feedback on work already underway and suggest new ways to help manage water as fairly and efficiently as possible. The members will also help identify long-term solutions to benefit future generations.
- The six-person advisory committee includes leaders with experience in agriculture, irrigation, Indigenous, industry, rural and urban issues.
- The Water Advisory Committee includes:
- Tanya Thorn, mayor of Okotoks and director, Towns South on the board of Alberta Municipalities
- Justin Wright, MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat
- Paul McLauchlin, reeve of Ponoka County and president of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta
- Ian Anderson, former CEO of Trans Mountain
- Alex Ostrop, chair of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association
- Jack Royal, CEO of the Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council
- Along with the advisory committee, Alberta’s government will continue working with municipalities, water users, farmers, industry, First Nations and others to help prepare for the risk of severe drought this year.
- The committee will operate for one year.
- No remuneration will be provided to committee members other than reimbursement for travel expenses.