Yukon and NWT modernize agreements on water management and monitoring

News Releases

Yellowknife — August 30, 2022

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and the Government of Yukon have renewed their commitments to manage and monitor shared waters in the best interests of Northerners.

Today NWT Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Shane Thompson and Yukon Environment Minister Nils Clarke signed an updated transboundary water management agreement for the Peel/Mackenzie Delta Basins and a new agreement for the Liard Basin.

These agreements install a long-term, collaborative commitment to:

  • facilitate equitable and sustainable use of shared water resources;
  • meet triggers and objectives to maintain aquatic ecosystem health;
  • continue to monitor water quality, quantity, and biology;
  • share information between the two jurisdictions on developments and activities that may impact aquatic ecosystem – including development projects, other human activities, and climate change;
  • incorporate Indigenous and local knowledge into decision-making about waters; and
  • establish Bilateral Management Committees to implement the agreements which include Indigenous governments and First Nations as members.

The renewed agreements improve upon the existing approach to monitoring the two territories’ shared waters by highlighting the importance of incorporating Indigenous and local knowledge into the monitoring framework, and the consideration of impacts from other factors such as climate change, on aquatic ecosystems.

These updated agreements were based on public engagement that was completed in 2020 and 2021, as well as consultation with Indigenous governments and Indigenous Organizations.


“Clean, abundant water for all time – that is the vision for waters in the Northwest Territories established under the Northwest Territories Water Stewardship Strategy. These updated agreements will modernize our shared approach and partnership with Yukon to realize that vision. We look forward to working with Yukon, and with Indigenous governments and partners across these watersheds, to monitor and manage the Peel/Mackenzie Delta Basins and Liard basins.”

- Shane Thompson, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories

“By working with First Nations and neighbouring jurisdictions we are maintaining the quality, quantity and health of the Peel and Liard River sub-basins and ensuring this ecosystem is protected for future generations of Yukoners. I thank our counterparts for coming together to advance this important environmental initiative and I look forward to our continued work to protect our beautiful backyards.”

- Niels Clarke, Minister of Environment, Government of Yukon

Quick facts

  • The NWT and Yukon negotiated two bilateral water management agreements because the water that flows between the two territories are located in two separate areas.
  • The Peel and Mackenzie Delta agreement replace a prior bilateral water agreement originally signed in 2002.
  • The Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement, which was signed in 1997 by Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, and Canada, is the overarching agreement that sets out the principles for all bilateral agreements among the provinces and territories in the Mackenzie River Basin.
  • NWT signed bilateral water management agreements with Alberta and British Columbia in 2015.

Related links


For media requests, please contact:

Mike Westwick

Manager, Communications and Public Affairs

Environment and Natural Resources

Government of the Northwest Territories



Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications