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Q & A with Kim Sturgess, Alberta WaterSMART

Q & A with Kim Sturgess, Alberta WaterSMART

[photo of Kim Sturgess at Convocation 2016]
Kim Sturgess

Q: What inspired you to start WaterSMART in 2005?

A; My team and I had been working on a water related technology for several years. When that business was sold, I dedicated my remaining career to finding ways to improve water management through better practices and technologies. We started as a not for profit, looking for innovative ways to connect water users and watershed managers to better manage our watersheds. What drives me so hard is that my colleague of many years who inspired me to look at water as a value added resource was killed in an accident. This is very personal for me.

Q: What are some of the specific issues that the WaterSMART team addresses?

A: We focus on issues that impact the watersheds. Alberta is a great place to work on water issues. We have floods and droughts. We have extraction industries and agriculture. We have glaciers and cities. Most of the water issues that are common in the world happen right here in Alberta. We have a chance to work through issues in collaborative, fact based processes. Our projects are featured around the world as examples of the strength of collaboration and focus on watersheds.

Q: Can you tell me more about your work with the Alberta WaterPortal?

A:One of the most important parts of our work is educating the public on water issues and what each person can do to make a difference. The WaterPortal was created in 2006, and continues today as online resource for water knowledge and sharing. Check it out at www.albertawater.com. This is a registered charity and is my personal gift back to the water community in Alberta and beyond.

Q. How can individuals and communities be better stewards of their water resources?

A: The best way for individuals and communities to be better stewards is to understand the impact that each action has on their water resources. Climate comes to ground in water, and adaptation is all about balance. Education and understanding is key. Conversations and collaboration between those who are impacted in the watershed, based on facts and analysis, provide the best guidance to decision makers. Above all, remember the golden rule of water management:  Do no harm downstream!


[cover graphic of Queen's Alumni Review, issue 1-2018]