The Designated Industrial Zone (DIZ) in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH) launched in 2022 to streamline regulatory approvals and support infrastructure development while maintaining world-class environmental standards. The program is helping attract major new projects, including Dow’s Path2Zero facility.

No new water intakes have been developed in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland for more than a decade, even though demand by industry has grown. The government’s $50.5-million investment over five years will help build three new water intake facilities in the DIZ. This will help create jobs, grow the petrochemical sector, reduce global emissions and diversify Alberta’s economy.

“The future of clean energy, petrochemical innovation and economic growth is happening in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland and the Designated Industrial Zone. Water is critical for industry and businesses, and the area needs new facilities to keep growing. This investment will help attract world-leading industrial projects to the Industrial Heartland and ensure we have the infrastructure in place to support them.”

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Environment and Protected Areas

“Today’s announcement is terrific news for my constituents in Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. This investment of more than $50 million means Alberta’s Industrial Heartland will continue to thrive, and when the Heartland thrives, Fort Saskatchewan grows, and Alberta prospers.”

Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville

Access to processed water is needed by industries in the area to operate. When the availability of processed water is uncertain it can drive up costs and hinder new investment opportunities for industry in the region, such as new petrochemical, hydrogen and ammonia projects. The new funding will help municipalities in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland construct up to three new water intake facilities and related infrastructure. The new water intakes will provide cost effective, fair and reasonable water access for industrial purposes to all districts in the zone.

“These new water intakes will improve the competitiveness for Alberta’s Industrial Heartland by providing open access to competitively priced water. This new funding will create long-lasting, environmentally responsible economic growth and diversification in AIH. Investments like this help position AIH as a global leader for industrial investment.”

Mark Plamondon, executive director, Alberta’s Industrial Heartland Association

As part of the DIZ, rigorous environmental protection and management measures are in place, including an Air Emissions Requirement Policy, enhanced guidance for air modelling, and a Water Quality Management Program. The water intakes will be located in the Lamont, Strathcona, and Sturgeon counties, with the Alberta government covering up to 30 per cent of the construction and associated infrastructure costs for the new facilities.

The Industrial Heartland Designated Industrial Zone has the potential to attract billions of dollars in capital investment, and support thousands of jobs by 2030. It continues to sustain clear regulatory frameworks, streamlined procedures and investment-friendly policies to attract and retain business. Strong environmental policies and programs kept in place create a regulatory framework that provides the certainty industry needs to confidently invest.

Building up the Designated Industrial Zone is a transformative investment in Alberta’s future. By harnessing the potential of the zone, the Alberta government will drive economic growth, stimulate innovation and create a more prosperous province today, and for future generations.

Quick facts

  • Current investment in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is valued at around $40 billion.
  • Alberta’s Industrial Heartland is Canada’s largest hydrocarbon processing region and is home to world-scale oil and gas refineries, chemical and petrochemical facilities.
  • Industrial zoned land extends into five municipalities, including 533 square kilometres within the City of Fort Saskatchewan and the Counties of Lamont, Strathcona and Sturgeon, in addition to 49 square kilometres in the City of Edmonton.
  • The DIZ’s streamlined regulatory approach is a global best practice for managing and encouraging sustainable industrial growth. Facilities in the area benefit from:
    • consistent, coordinated regulatory approvals
    • shared access to infrastructure and resources
    • minimized cumulative environmental impacts through participative governance of the zone and a commitment to continuous improvement
  • Water intake construction sites were determined based on a 2022 study that guided infrastructure development for water supply and wastewater treatment. A significant emphasis is being placed on the expanded use of reclaimed water by industry to help maximize water supply and reduce the environmental impact.
  • Learning from the pilot in the Industrial Heartland, the Alberta government continues to explore options to develop similar zones in other parts of the province.

Read the Government of Alberta’s press release here.