The North Saskatchewan Watershed Alliance (NSWA) was formed in 1997 by EPCOR and Trout Unlimited Canada with funding support from the following partners: Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; TransAlta; and the City of Edmonton Drainage Services Branch.
In 1999, NSWA became a registered not-for-profit society in Alberta, eventually growing to represent a wide range of stakeholders residing, working or with interests in the NSR watershed.
NSWA membership includes: municipalities; aboriginal communities; industry and industry associations; agriculture, recreation, culture, environment, conservation, and tourism organizations; representatives of the federal and provincial governments; education and research groups; and private citizens.
When the Government of Alberta adopted Water for Life: Alberta’s Strategy for Sustainability in 2003 it suggested the creation of Watershed Planning and Advisory Councils (WPACs) with an official, two-part mandate: to develop state-of the-watershed reports and watershed management plans. Watershed management plans must support the achievement of the three Water for Life goals.
1. Safe, secure drinking water supply
2. Healthy aquatic ecosystems
3. Reliable quality water supplies for a sustainable economy.
Under Water for Life, the development of a watershed management plan is to be coordinated by a WPAC. Alberta Environment awarded WPAC status to NSWA in 2005. Within the context of a watershed management plan, individual stakeholders whose land and water uses affect the achievement of one or any combination of the three goals are expected to take coordinated action with other stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of watershed resources.
NSWA provides a forum for sharing information and experience on issues affecting the North Saskatchewan River (NSR) watershed in Alberta as well as initiating events and activities that encourage integrated watershed management activities within the watershed.