August 16, 2022

– Center for Environmental Law

Alberta Water Law: A Comprehensive Guide

Alberta Water Law: A Comprehensive Guide

In the Environmental Law Center’s latest publication, Alberta Water Law: A Comprehensive Guide, we look at water law in Alberta. In this overarching examination of water law, we cover four main subject areas: the use and ownership of land under and in water, the law governing the use and flow of water, the rules governing water quality, and finally, the law governing water in Indigenous communities.

Alberta Water Law: A Comprehensive Guide (Full Guide)

Water Law in Alberta: A Comprehensive Guide – An Introduction

Alberta Water Law: A Comprehensive Guide – Chapter 1 LAND OWNERSHIP AND USE

Water Law in Alberta: A Comprehensive Guide – Chapter 2 USE AND FLOW OF WATER

Water Law in Alberta: A Comprehensive Guide – Chapter 3 WATER QUALITY

Water Law in Alberta: A Comprehensive Guide – Chapter 4 WATER IN DOMESTIC COMMUNITIES

INTRODUCTION TO THE GUIDE

The content is an introduction to Guide it provides background information to help you understand the rest Guide. This includes a comment on how Guide was written, as well as a detailed outline Guide and each of its chapters. The introduction also provides a basic explanation of some basic legal terms to help you understand Guideincluding the different sources of law, the powers of different levels of government to regulate water, and the different meanings of the term government.

CHAPTER 1 – OWNERSHIP AND USE OF LAND

The first chapter of Guide provides a thorough discussion of the laws regarding the ownership and use of land under and adjacent to water. For this, the chapter is divided into three parts.

The first part of the chapter deals with ownership of land under water, called beds and banks. This section begins by assuming that the provincial government owns all beds and foreshores in Alberta, before explaining the circumstances in which someone other than the provincial government might own the beds and foreshores. It also explains the rules for transferring ownership of underwater property, focusing on government-owned beds and banks.

The second part of the chapter provides an overview of public rights to use government-owned land and specifically state-owned beds and shorelines. In particular, this section deals with rules regarding the use of government-owned land for recreational purposes, such as boating and fishing, as well as its use for construction activities, such as wharf construction or water weed removal.

Finally, the third part of the chapter deals with the use and ownership of land right next to the beds and banks, which are called riparian property. Specifically, this section discusses how to find out who owns waterfront property, as well as the special rights that land comes with and the special restrictions that apply to it.

CHAPTER 2 – WATER USE AND FLOW

The second chapter Guide deals with the law surrounding water use and flow in Alberta. For this, the chapter is divided into three parts.

The first part of the chapter outlines the law governing water management in Alberta. It begins with an overview of the tools the provincial government uses to allocate water, meaning how the government decides who will use Alberta’s water and how much. Then this section explains the different types of government permits that allow a person to take and use water. Finally, this section provides a brief explanation of how water companies use water licenses to provide water to individual users, including how to deal with any issues you may have with your water company.

The second part of this chapter discusses the government approvals that are necessary for any activity that affects the flow, level or location of water, including which activities require approval and how to apply for approval if you need one.

Finally, the third section of the chapter explains some of the procedural mechanisms of the law, including how to appeal government decisions about water use and flow. It also explains the legal mechanisms the government can use to enforce compliance with the law.

CHAPTER 3 – WATER QUALITY

the third chapter Guide deals with the systems that are in place to manage water quality in Alberta. For this, the chapter is divided into four parts.

The first part of the chapter discusses the legal tools available to each of the different levels of government to manage and plan for water quality in Alberta. Specifically, this section describes federal authority to enter into agreements with other governments regarding water quality; provincial spatial planning and water management regimes; and legal instruments available to municipalities for water quality management in municipalities.

The second part of the chapter discusses the federal and provincial regulatory schemes that govern large-scale industrial and commercial projects likely to affect water quality in Alberta. In particular, this section outlines the provincial environmental approval process for major projects before explaining the provincial environmental assessment process and the federal impact assessment process.

The third part of the chapter describes federal and provincial legislation that prohibits the discharge of harmful substances into Alberta waters. This section begins by describing general legislation against releases of harmful substances, then moves on to discuss legislation that protects fish and migratory birds from releases.

Finally, the fourth section of the chapter provides an overview of the regulatory systems governing drinking water in Alberta. It also discusses the regulation of sewerage and stormwater drainage systems in the province, focusing on how these systems are designed to maintain water quality.

CHAPTER 4 – WATER IN DOMESTIC COMMUNITIES

The fourth chapter Guide deals with water law in aboriginal communities in Alberta. This chapter covers many of the same topics as the other chapters, but with a focus on how the law is specifically applied in Indigenous communities. For this, the chapter is divided into five parts.

The first part of the chapter provides a brief description of the Aboriginal people who live in Alberta, as well as some comments on how to understand the law that applies to Aboriginal communities, including how it differs from other laws discussed in this guide. .

The second part of the chapter deals with the law governing the ownership of land under water, known as beds and banks, which are found in indigenous communities.

The third part of the chapter discusses the rights to abstract and use water that belong to indigenous communities. In particular, it begins with a discussion of riparian and groundwater rights on reservations and in Metis settlements. It then explores two other types of water rights that Aboriginal people can claim; namely implied treaty water rights and traditional Aboriginal water rights.

The fourth part of the chapter discusses how water quality issues are addressed on reservations and in Metis settlements. To this end, it begins with a discussion of the regulation of water pollution in Aboriginal communities, then moves on to the regulation of drinking water, sewage, and sewage on reservations and in Metis settlements.

Finally, the fifth part of this chapter discusses the legal mechanisms that indigenous peoples can use to enforce their water rights, both against the government and against private citizens and companies. In particular, this section explains the constitutional limitations on legislation that interferes with the rights of indigenous peoples, the requirement that the government consult with indigenous peoples before taking measures that might affect their rights, and the ability of indigenous peoples to sue private citizens and organizations that have violated their rights.

Watch for announcements of webinars on water law and policy in Alberta later this spring.

THANKS

The Environmental Law Center thanks the Alberta Law Foundation for financial support of the Water Law in Alberta project.


ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CENTER:

The Environmental Law Center (ELC) has sought strong and effective environmental law since its founding in 1982. ELC is dedicated to providing credible, comprehensive and objective legal information relating to natural resources, energy and environmental law, policy and regulation in Alberta. The ELC’s mission is to advocate for laws that sustain ecosystems and ensure a healthy environment, and to engage citizens in lawmaking and enforcement. Our vision is a society where our laws ensure an environment that sustains current and future generations and promotes healthy ecosystems.

As a charity, the Environmental Law Center depends on your financial support. help us continue to educate and enforce strict environmental laws through tools such as our blog and all our other resourcesso that all Albertans can enjoy a healthy environment. Your support makes a difference.
Donate online today


Share this:
Facebooktwitterlinkedinpost

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.