The Land-use Framework (LUF) (PDF, 3.7 MB) provides broad strategies to manage Alberta’s land and natural resources to achieve long-term economic, environmental, and social goals. Regional planning is one of the strategies under the LUF, whereby the province has been divided into seven land-use regions based on major watersheds in the province and aligned to municipal boundaries. The regional plans identify unique features and needs for each region and lay out strategies to ensure growth and diversity through integrated and coordinated land-use decisions.

The South Saskatchewan Regional Plan (PDF, 7.8 MB) (SSRP) has provided ten strategies to maintain and diversify the agricultural economy, while recognizing and enhancing environmental stewardship.

SSRP reporting

Strategy 1.1 Reporting: Fragmentation and conversion of agricultural land

Through regional plans, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry is committed to monitoring and reporting on not only the conversion of agricultural land as identified by the 2008 LUF document, but also the fragmentation of the agricultural land base.

Strategy 1.2 Reporting: Irrigation Strategy

Outlines supports for the irrigation sector through research, information development, policy development and programming.

Strategy 1.3 Reporting: Value-added agriculture

Strategy 1.4 Reporting: Enhancing market opportunities

Strategy 1.5 Reporting: Attracting next generation to agriculture

Strategy 1.6 Reporting: Ecosystem services

Strategy 1.9 and 1.10 Reporting: Renewable energy

Strategy 3.15 Reporting: Conservation tools

Strategy 3.16 Reporting: Southeast Alberta Conservation Offset Pilot

Offsets are enabled under the Alberta Land Stewardship Act and identified in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan as an approach to meet conservation and stewardship outcomes in this region.

Strategy 3.17 Reporting: Environmental stewardship

Strategy 4.10 Reporting: Water Storage Opportunities Study

Continue to develop an optimized water management system in the region.

This will build on completed work including:

  • A water storage opportunities study for the South Saskatchewan River Basin that will be complete by the end of 2015. Included in the study are the Oldman, Bow, South Saskatchewan and Red Deer rivers. This planning level study will provide advice to government and may be used to guide future planning and decision-making for the potential development of additional water storage in the region and the assessment of on-stream and off-stream storage sites. Additional storage could reduce the risk to existing water users such as irrigators, municipalities, industry and the environment, as well as improve protection of the aquatic environment and mitigate the climate change variability in the region.

Water supply in the South Saskatchewan River Basin in Alberta is naturally subject to highly variable flows. Expanding population, economic growth, and climate variability add additional challenges to managing our limited water supply. Through Strategy 4.10 in the South Saskatchewan Regional Plan, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) committed to developing an optimized water management system in the region. To deliver on this commitment, AF completed a study titled Water Storage Opportunities in the South Saskatchewan River Basin in Alberta. The study explored opportunities for additional storage to improve water security in the future, while respecting inter-provincial and international apportionment agreements and other legislative requirements. Study Summary (PDF, 7 MB)