B.C. and the Northwest Territories sign transboundary water management agreement

VANCOUVER – B.C. (October 15, 2015) Environment Minister Mary Polak and Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources Minister J. Michael Miltenberger signed an agreement today committing both governments to co-operatively manage water in the Mackenzie River Basin.

Through the British Columbia and Northwest Territories Bilateral Water Management Agreement, which focuses on the Liard and Petitot watersheds, both governments are committing to protecting the ecosystems within the basin, as well as the interests of all citizens, including First Nations.

The signed agreement also recognizes and respects each jurisdiction’s laws, regulations, plans, policies, and economic opportunities.

The Mackenzie River Basin is the largest river basin in Canada covering 1.8 million square kilometres. This is the first bilateral water management agreement B.C. has signed under the broader Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement – a water management partnership between the Federal Government and Saskatchewan, Alberta, B.C., Yukon and Northwest Territories.

Mary Polak, B.C. Environment Minister –

“The Mackenzie River Basin is part of our rich, natural heritage that needs to be managed cooperatively. We are taking this next step with our neighbours to the north to ensure our shared waters are protected for the health of our environment and citizens, for today and for our future generations”

J. Michael Miltenberger, Northwest Territories Environment and Natural Resources Minister –

“The people of the Northwest Territories maintain a strong connection to the land and healthy aquatic systems are essential for food security, travel and economic growth, and mental, physical, cultural and spiritual well-being. This agreement – the second our government has finalized this year – will allow our two jurisdictions to work cooperatively to manage the shared waters of the Liard and Petitot basins and ensure the health of both our people and the environment for generations to come.”

Quick Facts:

  • The Mackenzie is the longest and largest river in Canada. The river and its tributaries flow through the Northwest Territories, Yukon, B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
  •  The Northwest Territories signed a bilateral water management agreement with Alberta in March 2015. A 2002 Bilateral Water Management Agreement with Yukon is being revised and brought up to date.
  • B.C. is working with Alberta and Yukon governments to finalize bilateral water management agreements.

Learn More:
Learn more about the Mackenzie River Basin Board, and the Transboundary Waters Master Agreement at www.mrbb.ca
For photos of the signing ceremony, visit: http://ow.ly/HIW3m

Media contacts:
Media Relations
Ministry of Environment

Roya Grinsted
Communications Officer
Cabinet Communications
Government of the Northwest Territories