The UCP government on Tuesday said it is taking steps to make Alberta more naturally drought resistant to prevent flood and improve water quality ahead of what is already shaping up to be a difficult year for water management.That’s why the government is providing $3.5 million to fund eight projects through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program to help restore riverbanks and watersheds, stabilize stream banks and improve natural drainage. In a news release, the department of Environment and Protected Areas said the moves support communities affected by recent droughts and floods..“It has never been more important to improve the resiliency of Alberta's watersheds. By working with local communities and partners, we are helping mitigate the impact of future floods and droughts in communities across the province while creating healthier water bodies for future generations,” said Minister of Environment and Protected Areas of Alberta Rebecca Schulz.Projects receiving funding are led by stewardship organizations, non-profits, indigenous communities and municipalities to restore critical wetland and riparian areas while promoting the ongoing stewardship and preservation of critical watersheds, in areas such as the Oldman River where water levels are at the lowest in decades.The move was applauded by a wide range of municipalities and conservation groups throughout Alberta, including the town of Devon and Lakeland County."Delta Waterfowl applauds the approach of funding local communities, empowering them to restore wetlands and the many benefits they provide. These grants will enable farmers and ranchers to help make the land more resilient, especially in dry times, providing long-term benefits for farm communities and society at large,” Jim Fisher, the group’s vice-president of Canadian policy.To date, Alberta has allocated more than $46.5 million to flood and drought resilience projects through the Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program since 2014. The funding has supported the restoration, enhancement and conservation of 5,475 hectares of wetlands and riparian areas and 320 kilometres of stream banks.More than 11,000 Albertans have participated in training workshops funded through this program on natural restoration techniques and other practices that enhance watershed resiliency.The next application deadline for Watershed Resiliency and Restoration Program funding is September 15.