The Alberta Federation of Rural Water Co-operatives Ltd. (AFRWC)
was formed in 1994 to address the diverse water needs of Alberta’s
rural residents. The AFRWC was originally formed in Southern Alberta,
an area plagued by water shortages and drought. Farmers, ranchers,
and rural dwellers came together to create distribution systems to get
water to their homes and livestock. Some of this water was potable
water, some used for livestock and irrigation.

The water co-ops were formed to pool resources, to share ownership
and costs, and to share the benefits of a self-owned system. Today
there are over 170 water co-ops in the province, 75 of which are
members of the Federation with over 3600 connections.

The AFRWC is a collective identity recognized by the Government
of Alberta and its associates including departments such as Rural
Utilities and Environmental Protection. The AFRWC also has a working
relationship with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration
(PFRA) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
The AFRWC administration is comprised of seven directors covering
different areas in the province each dealing with different water
situations.

The individual co-op members elect a Board of Directors to oversee
the operation of the co-op. Depending on the size of the utility,
they may hire a manager to direct the administrative and service
staff. Each year the members of a co-op gather at an annual meeting
to consider the financial affairs, the business of the co-op and
to elect new directors to replace those whose terms have expired.

Co-ops vary in size from as small as 6 connections to 1200. Sources
of water are also very diverse ranging from wells, dugouts, reservoirs,
rivers, and nearby towns/cities with their own water source making
health of rural residents a major concern.

The AFRWC actively promotes “working together” with
similar groups and associations to share resources and knowledge.
Currently as members of the Alberta Association of Rural Utilities
Association (ARUA) we are able to work with similar utilities such
as water and gas to resolve common issues and challenges and to
create new opportunities for our members and our rural communities.