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Northwest Territories Releases First Update on Joint Water Management Efforts with B.C.

by ahnationtalk on January 10, 2019176 Views

YELLOWKNIFE (December 7, 2018) – The Government of the Northwest Territories is reporting on work completed under the bilateral water management agreement signed with British Columbia.

The British Columbia-Northwest Territories Bilateral Water Management Agreement, which focuses on the Liard and Petitot watersheds, lays the foundation for long-term cooperative management to maintain the ecological integrity of the water flowing across the B.C.-NWT border. The Agreement is one in a series of bilateral water management agreements the NWT has negotiated with neighbouring jurisdictions under the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement.

Today’s report, Implementation Highlights 2015-2018, provides a brief update on the progress of key commitments, including:

  • Appointment of members to the Bilateral Management Committee
  • A review of publicly available Traditional Knowledge research for the Liard River sub-basin
  • A state of knowledge report for the Liard and Petitot River Basins
  • An assessment of Liard and Petitot transboundary groundwater resources
  • Proposed drilling of groundwater monitoring wells near Fort Nelson, B.C. and Fort Liard, NWT
  • Initial work to establish water quality tracking metrics and triggers
  • Ongoing water quality and quantity monitoring

The Highlights report also lays out the next steps for implementing the Agreement.


“This report highlights some of the important work we’ve been doing to develop a better understanding of the waters flowing between British Columbia and the Northwest Territories. Working together with British Columbia to responsibly and sustainably manage the shared waters of the Liard and Petitot basins will help ensure the health of our people and the environment for generations to come.

-Robert C. McLeod, NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources

“B.C.’s unique and precious rivers, lakes and ecosystems often do not start or end at our borders. We have to work together to protect our water resources and sustain appropriate uses. The B.C. government is committed to this bilateral water management agreement with our NWT partners and Indigenous nations, and to collaborating on responsible stewardship of our shared environment.”

-George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy

Quick Facts

  • The British Columbia-Northwest Territories Bilateral Water Management Agreement was signed on October 15, 2015. It is one of four bilateral agreements to manage water in the Mackenzie River Basin, the largest river system in Canada.
  • Five provincial and territorial jurisdictions share the Mackenzie River Basin, each with its own legal and regulatory framework. As the ultimate downstream jurisdiction, much of the NWT’s water resources are influenced by management decisions in upstream jurisdictions.
  • To promote a cooperative approach to water management, the Governments of Canada, Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan signed the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement in 1997, committing all six governments to work together towards managing shared water resources in a sustainable manner for current and future generations.
  • Bilateral agreements provide a long‐term framework for both upstream and downstream jurisdictions to manage shared water resources and ensure that upstream jurisdictions do not unreasonably harm the aquatic ecosystem of downstream jurisdictions.

Relevant Links

Media Inquiries

Joslyn Oosenbrug

Public Affairs and Communications

Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories

Phone: 867-767-9231 ext. 53045



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