The Yukon and Northwest Territories sign Bilateral Water Management agreements

Yukon Minister of Environment Nils Clarke and Northwest Territories Minister of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Shane Thompson sign two Bilateral Water Management Agreements

This news release has been updated to accurately reflect the Yukon Indigenous Representative on Mackenzie River Basin Board's comment:

The governments of Yukon and the Northwest Territories have signed two Bilateral Water Management agreements. The agreements apply to the Peel and Liard River sub-basins, both of which are in the Mackenzie River Basin, and will help better manage and sustain the aquatic ecosystem health in these two key watersheds.

 Together, the parties have agreed to:

  • establish a Bilateral Management Committee for both watersheds, including representatives from First Nations whose territories overlap with each basin;
  • classify rivers based on level of potential development, existing environmental conditions and level of sensitive or traditional uses;
  • develop learning plans for rivers of higher concern, which may lead to increased collaborative monitoring; and
  • share information and consult with each other on development or activities that may impact the aquatic ecosystems.

These agreements will continue to strengthen relationships and cooperation between the Government of Yukon and transboundary partners, and ensure these waters are protected now and for future generations.

By working with First Nations and neighbouring jurisdictions, we are maintaining the quality, quantity and health of the Peel and Liard River sub-basins and ensuring this ecosystem is protected for future generations of Yukoners. I thank our counterparts for coming together to advance this important environmental initiative and I look forward to our continued work to protect our beautiful shared territory.

Minister of Environment Nils Clarke

It is important for First Nations and provincial/territorial jurisdictions to work together to maintain the quality, quantity and health of the Mackenzie Basin waters for both nature and people. Signing of these agreements is an exciting step and we look forward to the good work to come.

Executive Director, Dena Kayeh Institute, Yukon Indigenous Representative on Mackenzie River Basin Board Corrine Porter

Clean, abundant water for all time – that is the vision for waters in the Northwest Territories established under the Northwest Territories Water Stewardship Strategy. These updated agreements will modernize our shared approach and partnership with Yukon to realize that vision. We look forward to working with Yukon, and with Indigenous governments and partners across these watersheds, to monitor and manage the Peel/Mackenzie Delta Basins and Liard basins.

Minister of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of Northwest Territories Shane Thompson

Quick facts 
  • The agreement for the Peel and Mackenzie Delta sub-basins was first signed in 2002. New standards for transboundary water management will be applied by updating the agreement.

  • Each jurisdiction is responsible for decision making in its jurisdiction, subject to specific limitations required to fulfil the purpose and principles of the agreements.

  • The agreements include feedback from Yukon and Transboundary First Nations governments, who will also play an important role in implementation.

Media contact 

Renée Francoeur
Cabinet Communications
[email protected] 

Brittanee Stewart
Communications, Environment
[email protected] 

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