Water is one of many economic drivers for southern Alberta. Industries such as intensive livestock operations and food processing depend on irrigation infrastructure for water. Lethbridge is the location most often associated with irrigation, though much of the irrigation is actually located east (Taber to Medicine Hat) and northeast (Strathmore to Brooks) of Lethbridge. Multidisciplinary research projects are needed to analyze and document the stream flow requirements of aquatic and riparian ecosystems; such research would allow the development of river regulation strategies that preserve these ecosystems. Research on water quality and water quantity is of high priority. How do dams affect downstream ecosystems in the South Saskatchewan River basin, including the Oldman, Bow and Red Deer sub-basins? How does water use affect the ecosystem? How do irrigation and intensive livestock operations affect the environment?


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