The Story of Green Infrastructure

The year is 2040, and Edmonton has taken a multipronged approach to creating a green city. Sustainable building features, technologies and Low Impact Development (LID) approaches in residential and commercial buildings have been widely adopted. Since 2015, Edmonton has undergone a land reclamation process to convert unused industrial sites and old landfills into green space. The city has also designed and installed infrastructure and technology that mimics nature. Municipal decision makers and regulators have supported this adoption of best practices through long-term planning initiatives and regulations.

The Story of Climate Change

By 2040 Edmonton’s population has grown considerably and there are increasing competing demands for freshwater. As a result of climate change, there are significant weather extremes, which are unpredictable and difficult to plan for so there is considerable future uncertainty. Municipal decision makers are looking at sustainable cities to emulate. The city is offering incentives and rebates to promote sustainable buildings and lifestyles. Edmonton has seen an increase in local food security as a result of their urban agriculture initiatives that began in 2012. The City has also implemented new types of stormwater infrastructure, storage and reuse to mitigate the impact of floods and droughts.

Since 2020, the City of Edmonton is engaging with other communities on the North Saskatchewan River about water use given increasing competing demands, water quality concerns (due to emerging contaminants and fracking), declining snowpack and the shrinking of the Saskatchewan glacier. To inform these discussions more groundwater research has been undertaken by universities and private research/consulting groups. In 2040, Edmonton and other cities are aware of the growing trend of forest fires that threaten communities and require large amount of water to combat. These realities have encouraged local leadership to develop adaptable strategies and increase education opportunities for citizens to about water, how it is used.

The Story of Technology (Alternative Sources)

In the Story of Technology, Edmonton has focused on the built environment, water treatment and matching water quality with use. By 2040, the use of stored rain and snow water for use is widely practiced and the cost of potable water rates has increased. Water users are using new technologies to get detailed information on their water consumption patterns so they can adjust their use. Greywater recycling systems are also growing in popularity and social acceptance. Edmonton has large-scale wastewater treatment facilities as well as many small-scale treatment options on a per household/building basis (e.g. using untreated water for toilet flushing).

This “blue” culture buy-in was initiated by youth in Edmonton who designed and executed water education programs for local leadership (municipal decision makers, political leaders, etc.). This resulted in decision makers working with the community (youth, business leaders, utility experts) to develop creative initiatives and social marketing to make water exciting for the general public. As part of this water culture, industries have been partnered with local water innovators to find technologies to best fit their needs to reduce water consumption and match quality with use.

The Story of Cleaner Water

In this story, by 2040 Edmonton tap water is cleaner than it was in 2015. Holistic and integrated watershed and source protection plans have improved water quality. As a result there is less chlorine in tap water as there is greater emphasis on water filtration, UV treatment and/or deep sand filtration. As part of these integrated watershed plans, plans for future development are shared with local land and water experts who collaborate and advise decision makers on best practices. In 2040, the City of Edmonton engages the community in meaningful dialogue about long-term planning and decisions that considers the entire watershed. The City then uses takes these community informed perspectives to the province to work together to protect people, water and ecosystems.


Canadian Water Network
RBC Blue Water