Alberta 2017 Budget Includes $100M for Water on Reserves
The Alberta Government has released its Budget 2017, which includes $100 million in new funding to support access to water systems throughout the province, providing access to clean water for Indigenous peoples.
Alberta’s provisions for water access to Indigenous people and people living on reserve is to maintain its commitment to the U.N. Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The capital investments are meant to support the “integration of regional drinking water systems with federally-supported water systems for Alberta’s Indigenous communities.”
Water management and stewardship in Alberta’s parks has been allocated $132 million. Under the Environment and Parks services, the province will also continue to develop flood hazard mapping to mitigate potential impacts. As well, the Alberta Community Resilience Program will continue to provide “a multi-year grant program supporting the development of long-term resilience to flood and drought events, while supporting integrated planning and healthy functioning watersheds.” Environment and Parks has a total budget of $564 million in Alberta’s 2017–18 fiscal year. Thirteen per cent of the total Capital Plan is devoted climate change, environmental protection, and sustainability measures, costing approximately $3.8 billion and fourth in magnitude of sector expenditures.
Transportation expenditures has been allocated $2.3 billion in 2017–18, which excludes the Climate Leadership Plan and debt servicing costs. This budget provides a total of $1.2 billion in capital grants to municipalities for programs, including Municipal Water Wastewater Program, Water for Life, UNDRIP – Access to Regional Drinking Water Systems, and the federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund and Clean Water Wastewater Fund.
The province also anticipates $8 billion in federal transfers for 2017–18, about 18 per cent of total revenue. The transfers present an increase of $45 million or 0.6 per cent from the previous fiscal year. However, when federal assistance for the 2016 Wood Buffalo wildfire, $509 million, is accounted for, federal revenue transfer will increase by $554 million or 7.5 per cent in the 2017–18 period.