SUSTAINABILITY – These wetlands located in Clearview Meadows on the Michener Centre’s property were constructed to help storm water make its way back to the river cleanly.

City lays out plans for water sustainability for future generations

Part 3: The importance of preserving water for City’s future

  • Sep. 17, 2014 3:14 p.m.

It is undeniable that water is important.

Without it human beings would cease to exist. In turn this means it is important for current generations to develop in a sustainable means, which will protect what water we have and ensure there is a sufficient quality and quantity available for future generations.

While North America finds itself fortunate its residents have an ease of access to water by simply turning on their taps in which clean, filtered water comes out, much of the world is not as fortunate.

The City of Red Deer had this thought in mind when writing the water portion of their Environmental Master Plan in 2011, which states they hoped to see a reduction in potable water consumption over the coming years. From 2011 to 2012, the City has seen a one litre decrease in the consumption of residential potable water consumption from 211 litres per person per day per capita to 210 litres. Although not a significant drop in consumption, the City has seen a significant decrease in water consumption since 2009, when residents were on average using 242 litres per capita per day.

The City is doing a number of things to prepare for current and future water demands. Environmental Planning Engineer for the City Gordon Ludtke is currently playing a key role in the upgrades of Red Deer’s water treatment plant, which supplies not only Red Deer but Blackfalds, Lacombe, and Ponoka with potable water as well.

“Most of the things in the plant we are replacing are 30 plus years old and its just time to upgrade these things,” said Ludtke.

Ludtke explained they will be changing the plant over from chlorine gas to liquid gas, upgrading the pumps and boiler systems, replacing much of the wiring and instruments, as well as adding a new generator to allow for the plant to be partially run during a power outage.

This isn’t the first time the City has upgraded its water systems to prepare for future water needs. The original water treatment plant was built in 1955 and closed in 1983 when the current one was built, as the original plant could no longer produce the capacity of water needed.

While our water treatment plant is responsible for cleaning the water we drink, which comes directly from the Red Deer River, many believe it is of vital importance to keep our water source as clean as possible.

Executive Director of the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance Jeff Hanger and his team are currently working to promote the legacy of ecological integrity and economic sustainability in the River and its watershed. The watershed refers to the many streams, creeks, and rivers, which stem from the Red Deer River.

“Our main goal is to empower stake holders along the river and bring people together to talk about issues affecting it and solutions to those problems,” said Hanger.

He explained one such issue currently affecting the Red Deer River and watershed, is the 60% loss of wetlands through out Alberta.

Wetlands are an integral component to the health of any river and the quality of water in it. Wetlands filter sediments and toxic substances, as well as have the potential to absorb the impact of hydrologic events such as floods. While wetlands were once thought of as waste land and drained to farm, their importance has been recognized and efforts are being made to preserve and rebuild remaining wetlands.

“The more people you have, especially along the corridor of Highway 2, the less wetlands you will see,” said Hanger. “The further you go away from Highway 2, the more wetlands there are, which is unfortunate, because the more wetlands you have, the better chance nature has of protecting the water quality.”

In the past five years the City has been working to rebuild lost wetlands, in particular the creation of the Michael O’Brien Constructed Wetlands in Clearview North. The constructed wetlands are located beside a storm water management facility, and work to capture and filter storm water before it makes its way back to the river.

Constructed on the Michener Centre property, the wetland includes foliage, and a special habitat to encourage healthy frog populations. Built in consultation with the Red Deer River Naturalists, the wetlands also include a bridge over the pond so people can observe aquatic habitants.

Hanger said there are a number of things citizens can do on a daily level to protect their local water sources, such as properly disposing of outdated prescription medicines by returning them to their pharmacist, joining a local conservation group, not flushing chemicals down the toilet, gathering storm water in a rain barrel or other gathering devices and using it to water your lawn or plants.

Hanger said he hopes to see a greater protection of wetlands and a greater emphasis on the importance of the Red Deer River and its watershed’s health, “I’ve got four children of my own, and I want them to grow up knowing there is water available and that they can drink it and play in it, and that there are people out there protecting the water and the land.”

jswan@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

Red Deer’s newest outdoor ice facility opens to the public this week

The speed skating oval at Setters Place at Great Chief Park will be open Dec. 17th

Yellow Vests protestors take to Red Deer streets

Trudeau government’s immigration and oil industry policies denounced at rally

Rebels lose to Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-1

Tigers break Rebels’ three-game winning streak

Exhibition explores the rich history and culture of Métis people

The exhibition is on display from Dec. 15th to March 10th at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

2019 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host sites announced

A total of 39 Provincial Championships will be hosted across the province

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

Of the 105 current senators, 54 are now independents who have banded together in Independent Senators’ Group

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

World Sikh Organization demands Canada prove Sikh extremism is a threat

Sikh community says this is first time such extremism has been mentioned in federal terror-threat assessment

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

‘I practically begged’: B.C. woman with breast cancer denied referral to Calgary

Breast cancer patient left to fight disease alone after being denied referral to Calgary

Facebook reveals bug gave apps unauthorized access to 6.8 million users’ photos

It’s believed up to 1,500 apps built by 876 developers had access to Facebook Stories, private photos

Most Read