The Alberta provincial government approved the Water Management Plan for the South Saskatchewan River Basin (SSRB) in August 2006. As a result of this plan, the Province stopped accepting applications for new allocations of water in the Oldman, Bow, and South Saskatchewan sub-basins in southern Alberta. This licence closure has had a significant effect on water supply strategies available to municipal water users, as many communities currently hold water licences that are not adequate for their projected growth. To meet additional water demands, these communities must reduce their water use, arrange water licence transfers, or purchase water from another licence holder. This paper describes how closing the SSRB to new water allocations has affected water supply planning for municipalities in the Calgary region in southern Alberta. It also discusses water supply and licence constraints and potential mitigation strategies, and examines the effects of the basin closure on water supply and land-use planning, and utility governance.
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