Internship project Tim Donkers: watermanagement in Alberta

From June 2013 until december 2013, Tim Donkers (Wageningen UR Environmental Studies) is an intern in Edmonton, studying the Canadian watermanagement systems. Tim received a scholarship from ACSN and shares his research outline with us:

Opportunities and Challenges of Conjunctive Water Management in Alberta

Alberta is booming. With the development of oil sands in the North, the population growth in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor and the expanding agriculture in the South additional pressure on the (surface) water sources in both quantity and quality is created (Government of Alberta 2010). Besides the use of surface water, groundwater extraction has been more and more seen as a new alternative. During the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy in 2007 a first review on the arrangements and management practice of different water sources in Alberta has been done. According to the conference output, a jurisdictional review of conjunctive water management (CWM) around the world was necessary as a first step for integration management of both water sources in Alberta (University of California 2007).

As a student intern at Netherlands Trade Office (NTO), my main responsibility is offering support to the NTO with establishing a closer collaboration between Dutch institutes and industry and:

1. Alberta Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development;

2. Water Initiative (linked to University of Alberta);

3. Alberta Innovates Energy and Environment Solutions;

At this moment I am specifically conducting a literature and interview review of the feasibility of conjunctive water management in the province of Alberta and this involves a review of how other jurisdictions apply CWM including the types of approaches such as Managed Aquifer Storage (MAR), Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) and Alternate Surface Water/Groundwater Use. The motivation for conjunctive water management of different sources of water supply is to take advantage of their complementary properties, in an effort to minimize water supply variability. In my report, CWM is defined as: “the planned integration of different water sources, primarily surface water and groundwater to maximize the benefits (social, environmental and economical) of their natural characteristics.”

The study involves a literature review of:

1. Water management in Alberta;

2. Key Techniques for CWM; and

3. Literature of the Application of Case Studies of CWM in Alberta, in Canada

and internationally.

Tim will keep us posted on his research!