Shared responsibility: prairie provinces water board
“Through almost 60 years of regular meetings, the Prairie Provinces Water Board has demonstrated that ongoing information sharing can result in the development of a high level of trust and open communication - resulting in many positive contributions in support of interprovincial water management solutions.” (International Institute for Sustainable Development, Prairie Water Strategies, December 2, 2005, p. 47)
The need for cooperative management of shared waters was recognized by the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and the federal government as early as 1948, with the signing of the Prairie Provinces Water Board Agreement. From 1948-1969, the Board recommended the best use of interprovincial waters and allocations of such waters between provinces.
In 1969, as a result of changing water management philosophies and increased development of interprovincial waters, the four governments entered into the Master Agreement on Apportionment. This Agreement reconstituted the Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB), established a framework for today’s Transboundary water management of eastward flowing streams that will help ensure:
- equitable sharing of available supply;
- protection of the aquatic ecosystem; and
- sustainability of transboundary aquifers.
The mission of the Board, as outlined in the PPWB Charter (February 2006), is to:
- ensure that interprovincial waters are protected and equitably apportioned in accordance with the Master Agreement on Apportionment;
- provide a forum for exchange of information in order to prevent or resolve conflicts; and
- promote cooperation in interprovincial water management.
The Board, which works by consensus, understands the need to ensure that the Agreement remains current and responds to evolving conditions that affect interprovincial surface and ground water resources in the Prairie Provinces.
Board members are senior officials engaged in the administration of water resources in each province of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and in the federal Departments of Environment and Agriculture and Agri-Food. A Secretariat and three Standing Committees (Committee on Hydrology, Committee on Water Quality, and Committee on Groundwater) support the Board. The Board reports its achievements annually to the Ministers party to the Agreement.
For more information, please visit the Prairie Provinces Water Board Web site.
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