Alberta's Minister of Environment and Protected Areas says the government is preparing for the possibility of a serious drought next year.

In an op-ed sent to media outlets around the province, Rebecca Schulz says Alberta has five stages in its water management plan, ranging from Stage One (a minor drought), to Stage Five (a province-wide emergency.)

We're currently at Stage Four.

Most of the water that Albertans use comes from rain and melting snow and there hasn't been much of either in the last three years and the El Niño won't help.

A Drought Command Team has been set up to finalize a drought emergency plan and an expert panel of advisors is being established.

They'll be monitoring snowpack, rainfall, river levels and actual water use over the coming months to develop an early warning capacity. 

The government has also launched a website to keep Albertans updated.

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