Water Flowing Over Rocks

Components of water stewardship

The NWT Water Stewardship Strategy describes broad actions necessary to achieve the vision and goals for water stewardship in the NWT and the 2016-2020 Action Plan is based on these activities. Each action in the action plan falls under one of four components of water stewardship, as described below:

Four components of water stewardship:

Work together

Actions ensure a cooperative environment to support water managers and water partners in sharing information, building capacity and working together to achieve the vision and goals of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy.

In order to Work Together, work falls into five main areas:

Partnerships – Partnerships are essential for water stewardship in the NWT. No one partner is entirely responsible for water stewardship and no one partner or individual is without responsibility. Partnerships can take many forms including partnerships for decision-making, funding, networking and data-sharing, among others.

Information management – Water stewardship activities, including decision-making at all levels, must be supported by adequate, accurate, current and accessible data and information. This can be achieved by enhancing, gathering, storing, processing and delivering scientific, local and traditional knowledge, and developing standard protocols for data collection, storage analysis and sharing. Traditional knowledge is an inherent part of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy and Action Plan. Established traditional knowledge protocols ensure the collection and application of traditional knowledge is conducted in a respectful manner. 

Communication and engagement – Good communication and engagement are necessary for building effective relationships among water partners and the public. Ongoing communication and engagement are required to keep the public informed and aware of water stewardship activities. 

Capacity building, leadership training and education – The continued success of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy is linked to increased local capacity, technical skills, knowledge of water stewardship and active  engagement with youth. Capacity development through education and training is crucial to the successful achievement of the strategy's goals.

Transboundary discussions, agreements and obligations – Successful transboundary discussions, agreements and obligations with neighbouring jurisdictions help ensure the waters of the NWT remain clean, abundant and productive for all time.

Know and plan

Actions that are part of this component of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy support the development and implementation of collaborative research and monitoring programs. The incorporation of traditional, local and western scientific knowledge in these programs improves the collective understanding of aquatic ecosystem health and diversity in the NWT.

In order to Know and Plan, work falls under two main areas:

Aquatic ecosystems – Considerable research and monitoring efforts are needed to more fully understand the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems, including water quality, water quantity, groundwater and biological components in the NWT. Knowledge gaps must be identified to set priorities. Development of research and monitoring can assist in monitoring and mitigating impacts and cumulative effects on NWT waters.

Community-based monitoring – Taking a collaborative approach to community-based monitoring fosters a wide range of innovations and benefits, including increased awareness of water stewardship issues, improved traditional and local knowledge collection and application, and increased direct community involvement in research and monitoring program design.

Use responsibly

Actions that are part of this component of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy support sound water stewardship through the development and implementation of programs, practices and guidance for environmental assessment, and regulatory and enforcement processes. 

In order to Use Responsibility, work falls into two main areas:

Municipal – Compliance with municipal water licences, consideration of traditional knowledge in the municipal water licencing process, ongoing sharing of information on municipal drinking water, and improving municipal waste and wastewater systems are essential for ensuring communities have confidence in their drinking water, and municipal waste and wastewater systems.

Industrial development – Improve understanding of water use, waste and wastewater processes and of the role that guidelines and regulations play to ensure water partners continue to participate effectively in regulatory and environmental assessment processes.

Check our progress

To ensure water stewardship initiatives are effective and there is progress towards achieving the goals of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy, we must check our progress. The evaluation criteria must be objective, ensure accountability and be directly linked to desired outcomes and identified performance indicators.

In order to Check Our Progress, work falls into two main areas:

Routine checks – Develop and implement regular reviews of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy and Action Plan to ensure progress is being made and adjust actions as necessary.

Independent evaluation – Undertake an independent evaluation to determine progress and identify emerging challenges and actions required to deal with new challenges.