Diminished Water Flows From The Athabasca River A Concern, Say Greens

Media Release

October 24, 2019

DIMINISHED WATER FLOWS FROM THE

ATHBASCA RIVER A CONCERN, SAY GREENS 

EDMONTON – A new report released by Parks Canada underscores the overall seriousness of deterioration of water flows of the Athabasca River, say this province’s Green Party.

Green Party of Alberta Interim Leader, Will Carnegie, says the report’s findings, which point to a diminishment of the Wood Buffalo National Park, a World Heritage Site, are indicative of decades of environmental mismanagement. “The situation is the culmination of many contributing factors. Oilsands development, pulp mills, municipal wastewater plants and of course, Climate Change, have damaged the Athabasca River. This latest report confirms what has been known for a long time, that as a society we have mismanaged this precious resource.”

The report, authored by the firm Independent Environmental Consultants, indicates water flows from the river have been reduced by 26% from 1958 to 2007. This negatively effects water levels in Wood Buffalo National Park as well as the Peace-Athabasca Delta. In addition to lower levels, the report also cites the quality of the water, with many residents indicating it is now unsafe to drink.

“As a party, we have endorsed the the July 28, 2010 United Nations resolution recognizing the human right to safe clean drinking water and sanitation. This is a foundational principle of GPA water policy. Water resources should be held as a public trust,” says Carnegie, who is also the Green Party of Alberta’s Candidate of Record in Calgary-East.

The Athabasca River has had many spills that have compromised it over the years. In 2013, 670 million litres of contaminated wastewater were released into the river near Hinton. In July of 2011 and August of 2013, 500 million litres of effluent were spilled into the river while in March of this year, 1,000 gallons of grey water were spilled near the Town of Athabasca.

“We share concerns expressed by Keepers of the Athabasca over the proposed $20.6 billion oilsands mine just south of Wood Buffalo National Park’s southern border. We believe that the smart direction is to shift to green energy alternatives and that this project may further jeopardize ecosystems in and around the Athabasca River,” says Carnegie.

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For more information, please contact:

Will Carnegie
Interim Leader of the Green Party of Alberta, Candidate of Record in Calgary-East
Phone: 403-973-6035
Email: leader@greenpartyofalberta.ca