Phase 1 water conservation measures continue

Medicine Hat – In response to the risk of drought in southern Alberta this year, City of Medicine Hat representatives have been meeting regularly with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas and collaborating closely with multiple regional agencies to align efforts and ensure prioritized use in the event of limited water availability.

Through participation in numerous Government of Alberta water sharing workshops, which began February 2024, the City of Medicine Hat has formally agreed to participate in a water sharing agreement.

Four Water Sharing Agreements (WSAs) have been signed by 38 major water users in the South Saskatchewan River Basin, covering the following sub-basins: the Red Deer River, the Bow River, the mainstem of the Oldman River, and the upper tributaries of the Oldman River. Under these agreements, major users have voluntarily agreed to reduce water use if severe drought conditions develop.

As a participant in the WSAs, the City will continue to collaborate with the other large license holders in the Oldman River sub-basin through regular meetings led by the Government of Alberta.

Medicine Hat remains in Phase 1 of the City’s Water Shortage Management Plan which commits to an annualized water consumption reduction goal of 10 per cent through mandatory measures for select City departments and voluntary conservation measures for the public. The Parks and Recreation department will reduce water consumption by 25 per cent through various measures such as reducing irrigation in city parks. Other City operational changes will include discontinuing water features and fountains for the 2024 season and reducing the number of bottle fill stations across the city.

Phase 1 conservation measures for the public are voluntary and consist of a request to the public to follow the outdoor watering practices outlined in the plan. The public is encouraged to implement water conservation methods inside the home to minimize non-essential water use as well. Residents can find information about water conservation and the details of the Water Shortage Management Plan on the City’s website at Residents can also visit for information on drought response and current conditions.

“Employing an ‘every drop counts’ mindset will help the City demonstrate our water conservation commitment,” says Jamie Garland, Director of Environmental Utilities. “Achieving a community-wide reduction in water use will help minimize the chance of having to advance to elevated phases of the Water Shortage Management Plan, which all come with mandatory water restrictions.”

There is no imminent risk to Medicine Hat’s drinking water or Water Treatment Plant. The City will continue to monitor local and sub-basin conditions, respond if and when the WSAs are activated, and consider elevating to subsequent phases of the City’s Water Shortage Management Plan as conditions evolve. Subscribe to the City’s e-news feed ( and follow the City’s social media channels to stay up to date.

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