Alberta-NWT Transboundary Water Agreement

The signing of the Alberta-NWT Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement by the Government of Alberta and the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) on March 18, 2015, one of the most comprehensive agreements of its kind, marked the conclusion of a second bilateral water agreement in the Mackenzie River Basin. To read the news release, click here

To learn more about implementation activities under this agreement, click here.

The NWT and the Yukon concluded a bilateral agreement in 2002, and most recently a third bilateral agreement, the NWT-British Columbia Bilateral Water Management Agreement, was signed October 15, 2015. For more information on the NWT-British Columbia Agreement click here

The NWT Negotiation Team was heavily informed by Northern Voices, Northern Waters: the NWT Water Stewardship Strategy (the Water Strategy) and NWT Water Stewardship: A Plan for Action 2011-2015 (the Action Plan). The Water Strategy was developed in collaboration with Aboriginal groups, communities, regional organizations, environmental non-government organizations, co-management boards, industry, government and residents.

In this Agreement, the NWT and Alberta agree to be proactive and forward looking and to facilitate joint learning that will inform bilateral water management actions on transboundary waters. Technical details related to learning, objective setting, monitoring and management actions are set out in the Appendices to the Agreement.

The NWT-Alberta Bilateral Water Management Agreement for the Mackenzie River Basin does not negatively affect any recognized or asserted Aboriginal or treaty rights and is intended to protect the waters upon which the exercise of rights depends.

The Agreement between the NWT and Alberta will facilitate improved monitoring and reporting of upstream effects from development. It will also includes provisions to create ecosystem objectives, such as water quality and quantity and biological objectives, to maintain the ecological integrity of transboundary water ecosystems.

The Agreement will establish a Bilateral Management Committee consisting of representatives from the NWT and Alberta, including at least one senior manager, and for the NWT, Aboriginal organization representation. Information or input can be shared with the NWT Bilateral Management Committee representatives for consideration at Bilateral Management Committee meetings, by contacting 

The GNWT is of the view that this and other Mackenzie River Basin bilateral water management agreements will be beneficial, provide certainty, better ensure that waters flowing into the NWT will remain substantially unaltered in quality, quantity and rate of flow, and promote effective transboundary water management in the NWT.

To learn more about Transboundary Water Management Agreements, click here.