October 22nd, 2017

Project aims to study impact on southern Alberta water

By Mabell, Dave on May 29, 2017.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald


It’s a small part of Alberta, with so much depending on it.

The headwaters of the Oldman River are the focus of a documentary film being produced by University of Lethbridge students over the summer.

Geography and new media student Thomas Porter and his team are spending every weekend in the Rockies’ eastern slopes, documenting the impacts of human use. Then they’re talking with scientists and researchers about the long-term consequences.

“There has been a lot of discussion surrounding public lands in the watershed in recent years,” he says. “I wanted to look at the science of hydrology and how water interacts ith the landscape.”

That’s the reason for the “Water Balance Equation,” which will be entered in 2018 film festivals related to climate change and population growth, as they put increasing pressure in the world’s water resources.

“It’s becoming clear that humanity is having a significant impact on the areas that provide our drinking water,” he observes.

Porter says the project’s goal is to make that water science more readily understood, so southern Albertans can see how those impacts will affect them personally.

“It’s a relatively small area that provides all the water for our farmlands, for industry, for drinking,” he points out. “If we don’t do our best to understand and manage these areas we may have problems going forward.”

The project has won support from the Lethbridge Public Interest Research Group, a U of L students’ group that helps fund social justice and environmental ustainability initiatives.

But it’s also looking for public support through crowdfunding. Those interested in helping can go online to http://www.chuffed.org/project/the-water-balance-equation

Porter says information about the project is also posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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