NWT-British Columbia Transboundary Water Agreement

The Government of British Columbia and the Government of the Northwest Territories (NWT) signed the NWT-British Columbia Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement on October 15, 2015, marking the conclusion of a third comprehensive bilateral water agreement in the Mackenzie River Basin. To read the news release, click here

The NWT and the Yukon concluded a bilateral agreement in 2002, and the NWT-Alberta Bilateral Water Management Agreement was signed March 18, 2015. For more information on the NWT-Alberta 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 British Columbia 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-British Columbia 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 British Columbia will facilitate improved monitoring and reporting of upstream effects from development. It 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 British Columbia, 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 nwtwaterstrategy@gov.nt.ca

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.

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