Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today to advise Members of this Assembly that our Government will be signing a Transboundary Water Management Agreement with British Columbia for the shared waters of the Liard and Petitot Basins.
This Agreement, the second one to be signed with an upstream jurisdiction this year, is another step in ensuring the waters of the Northwest Territories remain clean, abundant and productive for all time.
Similar to the one signed with Alberta in March, this bilateral agreement with British Columbia was shaped by the input of Aboriginal governments in the Northwest Territories and incorporates many of the best principles and practices in water management today.
The bilateral agreement with Alberta covers the waters shared between Alberta and the Northwest Territories. British Columbia and Alberta are negotiating a similar bilateral agreement for their shared waters including the Peace River.
The Northwest Territories – British Columbia Bilateral Water Management Agreement promotes a cooperative approach to the management of our shared water resources and establishes a framework for our governments to jointly maintain the integrity of our shared aquatic ecosystems.
The Agreement addresses the concern of future upstream development in British Columbia, as well as response to environmental emergencies, and their potential effects on water quality, quantity and biological elements of our shared aquatic ecosystems.
Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of great importance to our residents because of our close ties to the land and water and the significant dependency on healthy aquatic systems for food security, travel and economic growth as well as mental, physical, cultural and spiritual well-being.
The Agreement will be signed in Vancouver on October 13th.
I want to extend my congratulations and gratitude to the many people who worked so hard to finalize this Agreement including our negotiating team and Aboriginal governments who provided support and input into our objectives and approach to negotiations.
Mr. Speaker, as Members of the 17th Legislative Assembly, we can be proud of our achievements in safeguarding our water resources through the signing of bilateral water management agreements with both Alberta and British Columbia.
It will be up to the 18th Legislative Assembly to keep this momentum going and provide the encouragement and support needed to implement the signed agreements and sign similar agreements with Saskatchewan, Yukon and Nunavut.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.