Edmonton Water Week 2012

Edmonton Water Week 2012 runs from Monday, March 19 to Thursday, March 22. For full schedule of events visit http://edmontonwaterweek.wordpress.com. To see the groups involved in organizing water week events, please read about us.

MONDAY, MARCH 19

Groundwater: Unlocking the Secrets to Alberta’s Most Important Resource
Monday, March 19 (6:30 -8:30 pm)
Global Cafe, Jasper Place High School
8950-163 Street

Presented by North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper and North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance

Please RSVP to glenn@saskriverkeeper.ca

Come join the North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper and North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance for an interactive and educational evening on the groundwater beneath our feet, featuring Jon Fennell, M.Sc., Ph.D., P.Geol, Principal Hydrogeologist.

The objectives of our event are to stimulate discussion, create awareness and provide answers to the following questions: 1) What is groundwater? 2) Why is groundwater so important to us and all living things? 3) What are the human impacts on groundwater for now and the future? Our groundwater footprint 4) What can we do to preserve our most important resource?

Is groundwater Alberta’s most important resource?

Dr. Fennell is the Director of Water Resources for WorleyParsons Canada, and a Principal Hydrogeologist with over 25 years consulting experience in the resource sector. He received his B.Sc. degree in Geology from the University of Saskatchewan in 1985, M.Sc. in Hydrogeology
from the University of Calgary in 1994, and Ph.D. in Geochemistry from the University of Calgary. Jon’s areas of specialization include physical hydrology and hydrogeology, environmental forensics, water supply and waste disposal, and risk assessment. Jon’s skills also extend to assessing the effects of climate change and land use on basin hydrology, and developing effective management strategies for water sustainability. In addition to his company duties, Jon sits on the Board of Directors for the Bow River Basin Council (a water planning and advisory council under Alberta’s Water for Life Strategy) and serves as chair for the Modelling and Monitoring Committee.

TUESDAY, MARCH 20

White Water, Black Gold
Film Screening and discussion of water issues on Alberta
Tuesday, March 20 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)

Humanities Centre L41
North end of Hub Mall, Saskatchewan Drive west of 111 Street, University of Alberta

Presented by Sierra Club Prairie Chapter and Alberta Public Research Interest Group.

Screening is free and donations will be accepted.

White Water, Black Gold is a jarring new documentary film on the tar sands following Director David Lavallee as he journeys down the Athabasca River and across western Canada in search of answers about the battle between water and oil. The film follows an imaginary drop of water, and later an imaginary drop of oil, unveiling the threats the tar sands pose to the third largest watershed in the world and two separate oceans. White Water, Black Gold is a film about the inextricable link between water and oil in our modern world.

“Whether it’s a dam breach that could destroy the third largest watershed in the world (the Mackenzie), tailings ponds that are approaching the size of a great lake, or tanker traffic on Canada’s pristine west coast: it’s clear that our country’s water is in trouble,” said David Lavallee, Director of White Water, Black Gold. “Most people do not know that the tar sands impacts actually span half the country.”

Director David Lavallee worked as a hiking guide in the Columbia Icefields for 15 years. He saw profound changes to the mountain landscape as Alberta ramped up growth in the extremely water-intensive tar sands industry downstream. Lavallee’s burning curiosity to find out why took him on a three-year journey across Western Canada that resulted in the production of this film.

“I wanted to make this film to tell the story of water and how the tar sands are impacting an element essential to all life on this planet,” said Lavallee. “I hope that audiences will listen to the voices in this film, to see the impact the tar sands are having and be moved enough to become advocates for an energy future that does not pose such a great risk to our water resources.

The documentary is narrated by Peter Coyote.

For more information on the film, please check out whitewaterblackgold.com

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 21

Fracking and Its Impact on Groundwater: Lessons From Alberta
Featuring Professor Karlis Muehlenbachs
Department of Earth & Atmospheric Science, University of Alberta
Wednesday, March 21 (7:00 – 9:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 134
Corner of 111 Street & 87 Avenue, University of Alberta Campus

Presented by the Council of Canadians Edmonton Chapter, co-sponsored by the Parkland Institute.

As it spreads across Canada and around the world, the process of fracking — the injection of a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals deep underground to create fractures in order to extract shale gas, coal bed methane and oil — has come under increasing scrutiny, with some jurisdictions placing moratoriums or outright bans on fracking until more is known about its impacts. Landowners, some of who are able to light their water on fire due to contamination they say is due to fracking, are fighting back against the process, saying the risks to water are too great. What impact is fracking already having on Alberta’s groundwater? Is it really a harmless and safe process as the oil and gas industry claims, or is this “game-changer” process that promises to unlock almost limitless supplies of previusly inaccessible fossil fuels a risk to our water?

Professor Karlis Muehlenbachs is a geochemist at the University of Alberta. He is a leading authority on a process which can identify the unique carbon fingerprint or isotopes of shale and conventional gases to determine their source and migration. He and his team have used this carbon isotope fingerprinting to create a database of the entire Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, lately concentrating on shale gas. His work on fracking and isotope fingerprinting, and his warnings about the risks of fracking, have been featured recently in two articles by The Tyee’s Andrew Nikoforuk (available online at here and here).

THURSDAY, MARCH 22

Energy Development and the Prosperity and Well-being of Aboriginal Communities in Northern Alberta
Thursday, March 22 (1:00-4:00 pm)
Telus Building Room 236
Corner of 87 Avenue and 111 Street, University of Alberta Campus

Organized by University of Alberta Professor Makere Stewart-Harawira as part of the SSHRC- funded Northern Research Initiative.

Please join us for a public conversation on the issues and impacts of resource development, the expansion of various kinds of oil and gas extraction, and its range of consequences for Aboriginal communities in Northern Alberta. Presentations from a range of perspectives, including both scientists and Aboriginal community members, Chiefs and Elders will be followed by a roundtable conversation.

Confrimed speakers include Ricardo Acuna of the Parkland Institute, Jessie Cardinal of Keepers of the Athabasca, water expert Kevin Timoney of Treeline Ecological Research, and geochemist Karlis Muelenbachs.

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