Water & Drainage

Water Management Information

To check out our Water Management Booklet, click here.

In Alberta, there is water policy and legislation in place to ensure the quality and quantity of our water resources and to ensure thriving ecosystems now and in the future. Alberta Environment and Parks is responsible for overseeing this legislation.

The Alberta Water Act came into force on January 1, 1999 and focuses on the planning, use, and enforcement needed to manage and protect Alberta’s water.

The Water for Life Strategy—Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability is the Government of Alberta’s comprehensive water management plan. The strategy was released in 2003 and a renewed strategy was released in 2008 reaffirming the Government's commitment to:

  • safe, secure drinking water supply
  • healthy aquatic ecosystems
  • reliable, quality water supplies for a sustainable economy

Are you thinking of making changes to surface water on your land?

Under the Water Act, ALL water in Alberta is property of the Crown, even if the water is on private property.

Therefore, if a landowner wishes to undertake in an activity that:

  • may affect the land or vegetation under or around a water body, OR
  • may affect the location, flow, or quality of the water or aquatic environment,

prior authorization is required from Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP).  This includes any changes to drainage or changes to the purpose of a diversion, the installation of tile drainage, infilling, and the creation of dugouts, ditches, berms, and water crossings.

What is Beaver County's policy on beaver management?

Beaver control measures, such as trapping and dam removal, will not be completed by Beaver County on any private land, and shall be the sole responsibility of the landowner.

If the beaver(s) or beaver dam(s) are on private land and they affect County infrastructure or have the potential to threaten County infrastructure, the County may complete the work at no cost to the landowner.

Beaver County will respond to requests from ratepayers or other agencies for beaver control on municipal lands and may actively pursue and eradicate beaver and beaver dams on all municipally-controlled property.

Alberta Transportation is responsible for the maintenance of the road culverts blocked by beaver on all primary and secondary highways.

Beaver County does not have the authority on this matter.

The removal of debris in water bodies is not the responsibility of the Provincial Government or the municipality. A person who owns or occupies the land adjacent to a water body may remove debris (including beaver dams) without a Water Act authorization if the water body is not frequented by fish. A Public Lands Act authorization may still be needed.

Remember that if you are going to be doing any digging, you need to call Alberta One Call prior to completing the work to avoid potentially damaging a buried utility line.

Also a courtesy notification should be provided to adjacent landowners if downstream impacts of the debris removal are anticipated. 

What should you do if you suspect an adjacent landowner is not complying with the Water Act?

If you suspect that an adjacent landowner’s activities are impacting the water flow on your land, the first thing to do is speak with the adjacent landowner to try and find an appropriate solution.

If you suspect the adjacent landowner is not in compliance with the Water Act, you can file a complaint with AEP by calling the 24-hour Environmental Hotline at 1-800-222-6514.

Additional Water Management Resources