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Drought concerns in southern Alberta the focus of a new documentary

The Old Man River reservoir, seen here in early March 2024, is at its lowest level in more than 20 years. Global News photo

A new documentary is bringing awareness to the water crisis in the Oldman River watershed, starting with its title: Dried Up, What Now?

The 30-minute documentary was produced by Alberta-born writer and naturalist Kevin Van Tighem and videographer Yvan Lebel for the Livingstone Landownowners Group, a group residents, landowners and supporters concerned about the future of the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills area in southwest Alberta, the headwaters of the Oldman River.

The documentary will be shown publicly for the first time on March 23rd at 11 a.m. at Old Man River Brewing in Lundbreck.

The Livingstone Landowners Group says the documentary was developed in response to the severe drought conditions in the Old Man River Watershed and fears the situation could worsen this summer.

Van Tighem describes it as “a grassroots project, not a commercial venture.”  He says “nothing gets people’s attention more than the prospect of running out of water and the only source of water in southern Alberta is the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.”

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Click to play video: 'MD of Pincher Creek deals with water shortfalls in Old Man Reservoir'
MD of Pincher Creek deals with water shortfalls in Old Man Reservoir

The Landowners Group says the Oldman Reservoir is only 30 pervcent full compared to its normal level.

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They hope the documentary will not only raise awareness of the impact of the declining water levels but also spur discussion about possible solutions.

“Water security in southern Alberta is an ongoing concern given the heavy demands of multiple users in a historically water scarce region,” LLG president, Norma Dougall says.  “What we are seeing now is impact of gradual changes over the years that have made us less able to manage with reduced water flows.”

The video presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session led by the film producers, Lebel and Van Tighem.

The documentary’s premiere has generated so much interest the tickets, which cost $20 apiece, have already sold out, so a second showing has been added for March 23rd at 2:30 at the Vertical Church in Pincher Creek and there are already plans to take it on the road to shows other locations around Alberta including Lethbridge, Claresholm, Calgary and Canmore.

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