Cochrane takes a proactive role in water conservation efforts with provincial collaboration

River with rocks

(Cochrane, AB) – Cochrane continues to demonstrate commitment to water conservation and alignment with the recent Government of Alberta Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), requesting municipalities to reduce water use by 5-10% if severe drought conditions develop.

On April 19, the Minister of Environment and Protected Areas, Rebecca Schulz, announced the implementation of an MOU on water sharing aimed at conserving water resources within the Bow River Basin. This initiative marks a pivotal step towards fostering collaboration between water license holders and the province. Working collaboratively to achieve a significant reduction in water consumption across the basin, thereby enhancing sustainable water management practices and fortifying Alberta's resilience against drought.

"As Albertans, we face a shared challenge in preserving our water resources," says Mayor Jeff Genung. "That's why the MOU on water sharing is so important. It allows us to come together as communities and support each other in this effort. Here in Cochrane, we have taken water conservation seriously. We've invested in programs and seen reductions in water use, but every drop matters. We'll continue exploring ways to reduce consumption and encourage our residents to join us. By making small changes at home, together we can make a big difference for our province's water future."

Cochrane has implemented several key initiatives that demonstrate its dedication to water conservation: 

  • Updated Water Utility Bylaw: Council recently approved changes to the Water Utility Bylaw, enhancing water sustainability. These amendments provide greater clarity on water restriction levels, offer operational flexibility during emergencies, and expand irrigation timeframes.
  • Investing in Sustainability: Increased funding has supported the Water Loss Mitigation program, water conservation initiatives, community rebates and additional staff. 
  • Measurable Success:
    • Cochrane utilized only 65% of its allocated water license in 2023, showcasing our residents' commitment to conservation.
    • Daily water use per capita has decreased by 36% since 2007, transitioning from 400 to 255 litres.
    • The Water Loss Mitigation program, launched in 2023, recovered 71 million litres of water – equivalent to the annual use of 376 Cochrane households.
  • Long-Term Vision: Cochrane has had metered water systems for five decades and Tiered Water Rates since 2007.
    • The Town has recently acquired a new water licence and continues to pursue additional licence to support growth while ensuring future water availability.

Cochrane remains steadfast in its commitment to continuous improvement and collaboration with neighbouring municipalities. Administration is actively seeking new ways to enhance water conservation, ensuring we achieve the water use reduction targets outlined in the MOU, if activated, and a sustainable water future for our region.

Residents can learn more about water conservation programs and initiatives by visiting