EDMONTON – The Alberta government says it’s opening talks on water-sharing between large water users as the province’s drought situation worsens. Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz says negotiations between water licence holders in three southern Alberta river basins are to start this week. She says if a severe drought occurs this summer, the voluntary agreements would see major users take less water to help others downstream. There are currently 51 water shortage advisories in the province. One county has said the energy industry won’t be able to use its treated water for oil and gas extraction. The province’s energy regulator has also warned producers to make plans for reduced water use. Agriculture Canada says the entire province is under at least a moderate drought, with large sections of the south under extreme and exceptional dry conditions. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2024.