The last three years have been tough on Alberta's water system.

With 51 water shortage advisories in place throughout Alberta, the potential drought this year affects us all.

Alberta isn't the only province being affected by the dryer weather, as 70 per cent of Canada is currently experiencing drought conditions.

Not only that, but there is an El Nino that is rearing its ugly head, making the situation worse.

Alberta relies mostly on snowmelt and rainfall for its water, but with lower-than-average snowfall this winter, there is a risk that drought conditions could become worse this year.

"We are taking action to make sure Alberta is fully prepared to navigate drought in 2024. The work we are announcing will help the province conduct advanced drought modelling and explore innovative ways to maximize Alberta’s water supply. This is all a key part of our efforts to continue our work to help conserve and manage water now and be prepared for uncertain conditions in the future," explained the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas Rebecca Schulz in a media release on January 15th.

Which is why the Alberta Government has contracted WaterSMART to explore better ways to help manage Alberta's water. 

According to the media release, WaterSmart has expertise in watershed management, with previous experience working in the South Saskatchewan River Basin.

They will take the data collected on snowpack, rainfall, river levels, and water usage throughout Alberta to develop a better understanding of how much, or little, water will be available to Albertans this year.

From there, WaterSMART will help create an advanced modelling system that will help explore the best ways to manage Alberta's water.

This model will showcase realistic river flow scenarios throughout Alberta.

"People, industry, agriculture and the environment all depend on water for survival. This project will help ensure effective water management practices are in place by bringing together the largest water users to collaboratively determine the best solutions for managing through uncertain water conditions this year," said Kim Sturgess, the CEO of WaterSMART Solutions.

The Alberta government will be working with municipalities, farmers, and other water users to help thwart a severe drought in 2024.

For more information on water saving initiatives, keep an eye on the Government of Alberta webpage for updates.