Water Management

Government of the Northwest Territories responsibilities for Water Management include:

Regulatory and licensing

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) is responsible for developing, implementing and interpreting all legislation and policy relating to water use and management in the Northwest Territories.

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The Water Resources division provides information and expert advice to resource management boards and other clients on the effects of proposed water and land activities on the aquatic environment, as required by the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Waters Act and regulations. 

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Data collection

Ongoing data about water is needed to properly manage water resources. The GNWT, in cooperation with Environment Canada and other federal and territorial departments, collects information about water quantity and quality in the NWT.

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In 2008, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) started working with representatives from Indigenous governments to develop a water stewardship strategy. Regulatory boards, agencies, environmental organizations, industry, academic institutions and the general public have also been involved in the process.

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Responsible water management requires a long-term view of the resource, its potential uses and future demands. Effective planning for water use and quality protection requires a comprehensive ecosystem approach. Because water straddles and moves between jurisdictions, strategic planning is based on watersheds rather than political jurisdictions.

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