Prairie Provinces Water Board

The most significant interjurisdictional water management arrangement in Canada is the Master Agreement on Apportionment.

1986 Pearse Inquiry on Federal Water Policy

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Prairie Provinces Water Board
2365 Albert Street, Room 300
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 4K1

Telephone: (306) 780-6042
Fax: (306) 780-6810
Email: Lynne.Quinnett-Abbott@ec.gc.ca

www.ppwb.ca

PPWB Strategic Plan

The Strategic Plan for the Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB) was revised in October 2012. The Plan is summarized below.

Preamble

The Master Agreement on Apportionment was signed by the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Canada in 1969 in order to ensure the equitable apportionment and protection of eastward flowing interprovincial streams. The Agreement defines the apportionment of these streams and provides water quality objectives at the provincial boundaries. The Agreement also provides for the cooperation of the parties in interprovincial water management.

The Agreement established the Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB) to administer the Agreement. The Board, which works by consensus, has over the years established a culture of information sharing and cooperativeness. While the Agreement provides a core foundation for the sharing and protection of interprovincial waters, the Board understands the need to ensure the Agreement is current. Consequently, over the years the Board has recommended amendments to the Agreement and revised its work program to respond to new challenges. This is exemplified by the addition in 1992 of both the Agreement on Water Quality (Schedule E) to the Master Agreement and the inclusion of a groundwater mandate.

The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to identify current challenges of transboundary water management and identify the core MAA mandate to fulfill conditions of the Agreement and guiding principles that achieve the vision and mission.  Specific goals are outlined to achieve the core MAA mandate.  Strategies are oulined to achieve these goals.

The strategic plan will be implemented by the Board through its Secretariat and Committees and by the Member Governments.

Challenges

  • Authorities over water are shared amongst governments;
  • Actions in one government may affect other governments;
  • The volume and timing of flows in streams that originate in the Prairies are highly variable throughout the year and from year to year;
  • Water use and consumption in southern Alberta is a large percentage of available supply;
  • Population and economic activity are increasing;
  • Climate variability will affect timing and volume of available water;
  • Monitoring must be rationalized within existing budgets;
  • Threats to surface water and groundwater quality are increasing; and,
  • Limited knowledge and understanding of transboundary aquifers.

Master Agreement on Apportionment

  • Established the PPWB of senior water resource officials from within each Government to administer the MAA;
  • Defines apportionment of eastern-flowing transboundary streams;
  • Sets out agreed-to water quality objectives for river reaches at the boundaries and a requirement to periodically conduct reviews of objectives at least every 5 years;
  • Considers interprovincial groundwater quantity and quality;
  • Fosters transboundary water quality management that promotes the protection and restoration of the aquatic environment;
  • Considers transboundary groundwater quantity and quality matters;
  • Cooperatively consults and exchanges information or makes recommendations to governments on transboundary water issues referred to the Board; and
  • Encourages co-operation in the development and use of water and related resources to support economic growth.

Vision

Effective transboundary water management on the Prairies.

Mission

  1. To ensure that transboundary waters are equitably apportioned and protected in accordance with the Master Agreement on Apportionment;
  2. To provide a forum for the exchange of information in order to prevent and resolve transboundary water conflicts; and,
  3. To promote cooperation in transboundary water management.

Guiding Principles

  • Equitable sharing of water in transboundary streams, lakes, and aquifers;
  • Acceptable levels of water quality at interprovincial boundaries;
  • Consensus approach to resolving differences and making recommendations;
  • Science-based approach used to assess compliance with the MAA; and
  • Co-operation in the effective, economical and beneficial use of waters flowing from one province to another.

Goals

The Goals are based on meeting the core mandate and conditions of the MAA.

  1. Agreed transboundary apportionment of water is achieved.
  2. Transboundary groundwater aquifers are protected and used in a sustainable manner.
  3. Agreed transboundary MAA water quality objectives are achieved.
  4. Governments are informed about emergency and unusual water quality conditions.
  5. Transboundary water issues are addressed cooperatively to avoid disputes.
  6. Ministers, senior managers and appropriate staff of governments are informed about PPWB activities.
  7. Information, knowledge and research are shared among governments.
  8. PPWB business is conducted effectively.

Strategies

Goal 1 - Agreed transboundary apportionment of water is achieved.

  • 1-a Environment Canada monitors stream flows and provides quality-controlled data to PPWB.
  • 1-b PPWB calculates apportionable flows and apportionment balances using the agreed methodology.
  • 1-c PPWB reports apportionment balances to Governments.
  • 1-d Governments consult and cooperate to ensure apportionment is achieved.
  • 1-e PPWB assesses the adequacy of monitoring for MAA purposes.
  • 1-f PPWB assesses and continuously improves agreed apportionable flow methodology.

Goal 2 - Transboundary groundwater aquifers are protected and used in a sustainable manner.

  • 2-a PPWB defines and quantifies aquifers along the interprovincial boundaries.
  • 2-b PPWB develops an approach to equitably share and avoid appreciable harm to water within transboundary aquifers.

Goal 3 - Agreed transboundary MAA water quality objectives are achieved.

  • 3-a Environment Canada monitors water quality and provides quality-controlled data to PPWB.
  • 3-b PPWB compares water quality data to MAA objectives, and annually identifies excursions.
  • 3-c PPWB reports identified excursions and trends to Governments.
  • 3-d Governments undertake measures to protect and restore the quality of transboundary streams if objectives are not met.
  • 3-e PPWB assesses the adequacy of water quality monitoring for MAA purposes.
  • 3-f PPWB assesses and improves MAA water quality objectives as required.

Goal 4 - Governments are informed about emergency and unusual water quality conditions.

  • 4-a Governments report emergency and unusual surface and groundwater quantity and quality conditions to other Governments as outlined in the Event Contingency Plan.
  • 4-b Governments monitor water at boundary reaches to identify impacts of unusual events.
  • 4-c Governments in which the event occurred prepare an evaluation report.
  • 4-d PPWB refines the Event Contingency Plan to define what consitutes an emergency.

Goal 5 - Transboundary water issues are addressed cooperatively to avoid disputes.  

  • 5-a PPWB encourages and facilitates consultation and the exchange of information on transboundary water issues.
  • 5-b Governments inform each other about water projects being planned.
  • 5-c Transboundary surface and ground water quantity and quality issues referred by Governments are investigated by the PPWB; and
  • 5-d Consensus is developed on recommendations to Governments for transboundary quantity and quality issues that have the potential for conflict.

Goal 6 - Ministers, senior managers and appropriate staff of governments are informed about PPWB activities.

  • 6-a PPWB Members use the PPWB Charter to inform Ministers and Government officials of the roles of Governments and the PPWB.
  • 6-b PPWB Members brief their governments on the PPWB.
  • 6-c Senior managers are invited to Joint Meetings with the PPWB as needed.
  • 6-d PPWB publishes and the PPWB Members share annual reports with Ministers and Government officials.

Goal 7 - Information, knowledge and research are shared among governments.

  • 7-a Governments share information on science investigations and research activities of mutual interest.
  • 7-b PPWB promotes scientific research and transfers scientific information through workshops and fora.
  • 7-c PPWB provides information to the public on PPWB transboundary water issues as requested.

Goal 8 - PPWB business is conducted effectively.

  • 8-a PPWB work planning and budgeting is consistent with member agency timeframes and provides adequate direction and funds to enable achieving goals.
  • 8-b Day-to-day activities are administered effectively.
  • 8-c Board and Committee members communicate effectively before and after meetings.
  • 8-d Priorties and responsibilities of Committees are clearly defined.
  • 8-e PPWB Charter, Strategic Plan, Bylaws and Rules and Procedures are reviewed and updated every five years.
  • 8-f Succession planning is done to ensure continuity of Board, Committee and Secretariat functions.

Communications

The PPWB is responsible for making information available to interested parties.  To fulfill this responsibility, the PPWB:

  1. Provides timely reports to governments about the status of apportionment and water quality requirements established under the MAA;
  2. Provides an annual report to Ministers on the administration of the MAA;
  3. Provides reports and, where necessary, recommendations to governments on matters related to transboundary water issues;
  4. Communicates among Board members to prevent and resolve issues;
  5. Presents information about the MAA and the PPWB at governmental and non-governmentatl meetings; and
  6. Distributes, upon request, reports produced for and by the PPWB to interested parties.

The PPWB Strategic Plan was approved by the Board at Meeting No. 102 on October 25-26, 2012.

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Page last modified: 16 January 2014

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