The 13th Annual NWT Water Stewardship Strategy Implementation Workshop was held October 25-27, 2022 at the Chief Drygeese Centre in Dettah. the three-day event brought water and climate change partners together under the collaborative theme of "Adapting to Change and Building a Resilient Northwest Territories" in recognition of the challenges the NWT has faced in recent years in responding to changes on the land, water and in our communities. the first day and a half focused on the work under NWT Water Stewardship Strategy and the later portion of the event was dedicated to the implementation of the NWT Climate Change Strategic Framework and Action Plan.
The workshop focused on collaboration and knowledge sharing among water and climate change partners and highlighted the importance of working together to build resilience and adapt to these changes. Key objectives of the workshop included, but were not limited to the following:
- Share progress on the importance of the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy (Water Strategy) and 2021-2025 Action Plan.
- Highlight successes, opportunities and challenges, and needs to advance water management and climate adaptation in the NWT.
- Provide a venue for NWT water partners to share, network and build partnerships with each other to advance resilience.
Some of the key takeaways from the Water Stewardship Strategy Workshop presentations and panel discussions include:
- Implementation of the 2021-2025 NWT Water Strategy Action Plan is well underway by water partners through a number of ongoing projects and initiatives. The progress summary review report for the first year of implementation of the Action Plan will soon be available to the public.
- Successful transboundary discussions, agreements and obligations with neighbouring jurisdictions help ensure the waters of the NWT remain clean, abundant and productive for all time.
- The Indigenous Steering Committee reminded participants of our connection to the land and water and the importance of water in our lives, and how the Water Strategy is a vital tool to collectively preserve our NWT waters for the future.
- Indigenous governments, Indigenous organizations and communities, and youth shared different ongoing projects and initiatives contributing to the vision and goals of the Water Strategy. Emphasis was placed on the need to work together, side by side, because changes are happening, and everyone is affected.
- Through questions and discussions, participants expressed the need for greater linkages between Indigenous knowledge and western science in research and regulatory programs, and involvement of youth in future workshops.
- The Indigenous government and Indigenous organization representatives from around Great Slave Lake (GSL) came together to discuss and provide input on a plan to move forward with the development of a collaborative research and monitoring program for the lake. Elders from regions surrounding Great Slave Lake shared the changes they have seen occurring on the land and water in their lifetime. A What We heard Report summarizing the GSL sessions will be available publicly in the coming weeks.
Approximately 100 representatives of Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations, academic institutions, Northwest Territories regulatory agencies, non-governmental organizations, and federal and territorial departments participated in each day of the workshop. In total, 130 partners participated in the three-day event. Members of the Water Strategy Indigenous Steering Committee (ISC) participated in the workshop to represent the interests of their respective Indigenous governments and Indigenous organizations.
The following presentations were made during the workshop:
- Remote Sensing of Environmental Change Presentation by Homa Kheyrollah Pour.
- Youth Water Stewardship and Mentorship Grant Project Presentation by Kathleen Fordy.
- 2022 Transboundary Water Agreements Updates Presentation by Meghan Beveridge.
- 2022 TB Biological Monitoring Presentation by Christopher Cunada.
- 2022 NWT-Wide Community-Based Water Quality Monitoring Program Updates Presentation by Guylaine Ross.
- 2022 NWT Water Stewardship Strategy Updates Presentation by Nicole B. Twagira.
The summary report of the Water Stewardship Strategy Implementation portion of the workshop can be read here: 2022 Workshop Summary Report.
For more information on the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy, please visit: www.nwtwaterstewardship.ca.