No plans for water changes in southwestern Alberta: environment minister

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EDMONTON — Alberta's environment minister says there's no plan to change water allocations in the province's southwest.

Jason Nixon was responding to Opposition Leader Rachel Notley in the legislature after she brought up an Alberta Environment information briefing for stakeholders last fall that addressed water management in the area.

Nixon says consultations have been ongoing, mostly to ensure fish habitat remains viable.

He says no proposal to reallocate water to coal mines has been made.

The briefing suggested reserving 20 per cent of the flow of the Oldman River for fish habitat and river health.

Irrigation and industrial uses are classified separately, with most water reserved for agriculture whether or not it's used.

The presentation included an idea to combine the classifications, which could free up water for two coal mines.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press