Our Water is Not for Sale and Keepers of the Athabasca present Jeremy Schmidt.
With long-promised public consultations on changes to Alberta’s water allocation system expected this fall and increased emphasis in Alberta on the development of regional land-use frameworks, recent changes at the federal level present Alberta with an opportunity to cultivate a broader and more equitable ethic for land and water governance.
Land and water are intricately connected systems, yet they are often managed separately. Jeremy Schmidt will explore the historical context in which land and water were divided for the purposes of resource governance in Alberta. This move effectively excluded alternate conceptions of social organization and of the land-water system itself.
Schmidt will discuss two contemporary challenges to the effective governance of land-water systems in Alberta. The first is that of shifting from policies where water is instrumental to land, such as in presumptions that water left for nature is not in use. This challenge is taken up in relation to federal changes to inland water protection passed in the 2012 federal budget. The second is that of recognizing the broader community dependent on effective land and water governance. This is taken up in the context of federal signals that the legislation of private property on First Nations territory is likely to change. Depending on these changes, there could be significant impacts on water rights.
About Jeremy Schmidt
Jeremy J. Schmidt is a SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellow at Harvard University. He received his PhD in Geography from Western University, where he held one of Canada’s prestigious Trudeau Scholarships. He holds a MA in Geography (McGill) and two undergraduate degrees (Lethbridge; Prairie) with majors in geography, philosophy, theology and wilderness leadership. He is the author of the Parkland Institute’s report Alternative Water Futures in Alberta, co-editor of Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals, and has served on working groups for ethics and water management with UNESCO. He has been an invited participant of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Religion, Science and Environment Symposium. His doctoral research examined water governance and ethics in Alberta.