Mackenzie River basin board

The Mackenzie River Basin Board was created as a forum for cooperative water management within the huge Mackenzie River Basin (covering one-sixth of the area of Canada). The Board was formed under the "Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement", signed in July 1997 by the Governments of Canada, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

The Board became fully operational in December 1998 and has thirteen members. Three members represent the federal departments of Environment, Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and Health. Each of the provinces and territories has two members, one government representative and one representative of Aboriginal organizations.

The Agreement contains four main elements:

  • principles for cooperative management of the aquatic ecosystem,
  • an administration component to facilitate the Board's business and identify its duties,
  • provision for neighboring jurisdictions to negotiate bilateral, water management agreements, and
  • a dispute resolution mechanism.

The Parties to the agreement have committed to five principles:

  • maintaining the ecological integrity of the aquatic ecosystem,
  • managing the use of the water resources in a sustainable manner,
  • the right of each Party to manage the use of water resources provided such use does not unreasonably harm the ecological integrity in another jurisdiction;
  • providing for early and effective consultation, notification and information, and
  • resolving issues cooperatively.

This Board is unique because of its interjurisdictional partnerships, the participation of Aboriginal members and its focus on maintaining the ecological integrity of the whole basin.

The Board has a strategic plan and a communications strategy and it has begun to address specific commitments in the Master Agreement. It has established committees, held public meetings, organized a Water Forum and released a State of the Aquatic Ecosystem Report in 2003 for the Mackenzie River Basin.

For more information, please contact:

Mackenzie River Basin Board
195 McDougal Rd
Box 1349
Ft. Smith  NT  X0E 0P0
Tel: (867) 872-2375.
Fax:  (867) 872-2385

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