Water is Life

The Northwest Territories (NWT) has an abundance of freshwater. This water is essential to ecosystem health, and the social, cultural and economic well-being of territorial residents. Northerners rely on water and aquatic ecosystems for sustenance, recreation, and transportation. Major water uses in the NWT include municipal consumption and industrial development, such as mining, oil and gas and hydroelectric power production. For Aboriginal people, who make up approximately 48% of the territories’s population, water has cultural, spiritual, and historical value. Water is considered by many Aboriginal people to be a heart, giving life to people, wildlife, fish and plants.

In recent years, Northerners have been paying more attention to the state of our water and aquatic ecosystems. With increasing pressures on water and aquatic ecosystems at a regional, national and international level, residents are recognizing that actions need to be taken now to ensure our water and aquatic ecosystems are sustained for future generations. Environmental monitoring and research activities provide a foundation for making sound water stewardship decisions in the NWT.