A new initiative in southern Alberta could have a big impact on communities across the region. The Oldman Watershed Council is seeking signatures from municipalities, counties and businesses for their 2017 Southern Alberta Water Charter, which aims to protect the local water supply.
Candidates signing the charter will commit to at least one new project and/or program in 2017. The initiative aims to work towards the betterment of people, animals and ecosystems in the Oldman River watershed. The council’s communications specialist, Anna Garleff, says there are a number of ways people can contribute.
“Weed pulls, garbage pickups – there’s things people can do as families, they can do it as groups and challenge one another,” she said. “And we’d like to roll out the blue “W,” where we would have window stickers available. This would mean that someone could come by and fill up their water bottle.”
Garleff also says farmers and ranchers could get involved by keeping cattle away from streams.
The Oldman Watershed Council made a presentation to mayors and reeves in the area in October to gather support for their cause. The City of Lethbridge has already committed to signing the charter and the council hopes to have other commitments soon.
In addition to projects to help the area, the council also hopes to gain exposure.
“There’s a formal signing of the charter, then the second point is to upload a badge to their website,” Garleff said. “What it means is that they show on their website that they’ve joined the Southern Alberta Water Charter for 2017.”
Submissions will kick off Feb. 15, while events and projects will begin on the May long weekend and run until the September long weekend. Those involved believe many are ready to get on board and contribute to the project.
“We’re at the stage where people are ready to make change themselves and understand what they can do at a grassroots level to have a huge impact,” Garleff said. “That’s really exciting because it means that the work we’ve done so far is having an effect and people are getting excited and becoming empowered.”
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