Red Deer City council accepted the Environmental Master Plan (EMP) 2015 report as information this week with changed metrics, or measuring standards, related to both water quality and conservation targets.
The EMP highlights, presented by Nancy Hackett, environmental initiatives supervisor for the City, outlined the community’s environmental goals, targets and strategies, according to council notes.
Hackett requested that council also endorse the inclusion of revised water conservation targets from the Water Conservation Efficiency and Productivity Plan into the EMP and support the inclusion of new water quality metrics and targets.
Based on research from the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance and stream quality data collected for the City, administration has been able to produce baseline data for this metric and establish a recommended target.
“It was recommended the EMP consider (an increase to the potable water conservation target) to 22 per cent in place of a 15 per cent target for 2020, and a 30 per cent target for decline in water use by 2035 over the 25 per cent target. That’s for consideration for council tonight in the plan.”
There were also new recommendations for water losses – 10% for 2020 and 7% by 2035.
Right now, in any given year it’s between 11% and 13%. “So that is an achievable target.”
Also, for future EMP annual reports, council was asked to endorse a water quality metric containing baseline data measurement of five parameters – total phosphorus, total nitrogen, total suspended solids, dissolved oxygen and E.Coli.
“The 2035 target for each of these parameters would be set as ‘maintain and lower concentrations of water quality parameters, based on the Red Deer River Watershed Alliance Blueprint Integrated Watershed Management Plan water quality objectives’.”
Ultimately, Hackett said the EMP contains all of those things that citizens would expect it to contain, as well as those benchmarks, targets as well as specific action strategies going forward.
“How do we measure progress against our focus areas? Each focus area has between two and four metrics which are indicators for progress,” she said.
Ultimately, the City will be publishing a public report card highlighting the key 2015 EMP results.
“The next steps are to produce the public report card for 2015 and to share that with the community,” she said. “And then to continue implementing the projects that are underway for 2016.”
In 2017, a planned update is planned for the EMP.
Councillor Paul Harris also introduced an amendment that a metric be added at that time regarding pharmaceuticals within the watershed which was approved as well.
As council notes point out, that date of 2017 also coincides with the end-date for the short term actions set in the EMP.