Investment in research projects aims to improve quantity, quality and sustainability of water in rural Alberta
The Alberta Rural Development Network (ARDN) is investing $100,000 in two rural water research projects aimed at improving the quantity, quality and long-term sustainability of water in rural areas. One of the beneficiaries of that largesse is Lars Hallström, director of the Alberta Centre for Sustainable Rural Communities (ACSRC) who holds a joint appointment with two U of A faculties—one in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology and the other in the Department of Social Science (Political Studies) at Augustana.
Hallström’s research will examine what successful rural communities have done to balance water use with commercial and population growth. With financial support of up to $50,000 from ARDN, Hallström says his year-long research project will seek to identify, synthesize and categorize the multiple strategies and initiatives that have been undertaken within Alberta to reconcile the pressures of economic and population growth with issues of water supply and policy.
Water was identified as a priority for rural Alberta at a workshop held in conjunction with ARDN’s Creating Rural Connections conference in April 2011. Participants included representatives from community-based organizations, municipal government, Aboriginal communities and post-secondary institutions that were asked to identify major issues related to rural development in Alberta.
The other project to receive ARDN funding is a partnership of 10 organizations led by the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology that focuses on the Sturgeon River Watershed and how people living in its proximity perceive this resource and what research on it they deem most pressing.
ACSRC is a joint initiative of the U of A’s Augustana Campus and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences.
With files from Devin Keay (Augustana Campus)