There are currently 51 water shortage advisories in place in Alberta for select water management areas.

The recent snowfall and moisture have been a welcome sight, and there is growing optimism with long-range forecasts calling for a wetter Spring and Summer, but there is no guarantee.

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, says we must remain prepared for drought now and into the future.

"Alberta’s Drought Response Plan is foundational to that work and will help our province respond to all levels of drought for years to come."

The province's drought plan covers everything from conservation plans and water-sharing agreements to declaring an emergency and prioritizing water for human health and safety.

Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation RJ Sigurdson has been hearing from producers, associations, and irrigation districts about their drought concerns.

He says this drought response plan, in combination with Agriculture Financial Services Corporation’s business risk management programs, will be important supports for producers.

Alberta's Drought Plan outlines the province's five stages of response.

Alberta is currently at Stage 4, with the province working proactively with major water users. 

The last resort would be to move to Stage 5 and declare an emergency under the Water Act, something the province has never had to do.

If an emergency is declared, the government will work closely with water users and temporarily take steps to manage water in the emergency area. 

Potential actions could include suspending approvals, registrations, or water licenses and designating the purposes and volumes for which water may be diverted or used.

Alberta's Drought Response Plan can be found here.