Water Security Agency

Interjurisdictional Water Management

Water crosses provincial and national boundaries, and interjurisdictional management with the federal government, other provinces and territories, and with the United States is central to our water security. In most cases, Saskatchewan has transboundary agreements with regard to how surface water is shared and quality is maintained. Similar agreements regarding groundwater are under active discussion. Coordinated planning and decision-making bodies and improved collaborative approaches can help to prevent and address interjurisdictional issues.

Prairie Provinces Water Board
The Prairie Provinces Water Board administers the Master Agreement on Apportionment and has permanent committees charged with technical work in the areas of hydrology, groundwater, and water quality.

Saskatchewan – Manitoba Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Water Management
The governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have renewed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) respecting water management between the two provinces.

Mackenzie River Basin Board
The Mackenzie River Basin Board was created in 1997 by the Transboundary Waters Master Agreement between the governments of Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. 

Committee on Drinking Water
Saskatchewan is a member of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water.  Protection of drinking water quality through the implementation of water quality guidelines or standards is an important component of public health protection.  This inter-jurisdictional committee works to review existing and develop new national drinking water quality guidelines known as Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. 

The national guidelines are adopted by the Province of Saskatchewan as well as other provinces and territories in whole or in part and become enforceable standards or requirements for drinking water quality.  The most current edition of these national guidelines are available at Health Canada .  Saskatchewan’s Drinking Water Quality Standards are available at and can also be found in The Waterworks and Sewage Works Regulations.

In terms of recent developments from the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water (CDW), during 2014-15 final guidelines for Nitrate/Nitrite, 1,2-Dichloroethane, and Ammonia as well as a revised summary table for all national drinking water quality guidelines were posted.  In 2014-15, CDW assessed the available information on issuing and rescinding boil water advisories for drinking water supplies;  initiated work on the ongoing review of drinking water quality guidelines for total coliforms, viruses and enterococci; and advanced work on guidelines for Manganese, Uranium, Copper, Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid/Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOS/PFOA), Tetrachloroethylene, Chromium, Microcystin toxins , Lead, Pentachlorophenol, Bromate, pesticides, Trihalomethanes, pH as well as Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylenes.

International Joint Commission  
The International Joint Commission is guided by the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed between Canada and the United States in 1909. The IJC has two main responsibilities: regulating shared water uses and investigating transboundary issues and recommending solutions.

The International Joint Commission has responsibilities for regulating water levels and monitoring the water quality of rivers and lakes along the international border between Canada and the United States.

The province of Saskatchewan represented by the Water Security Agency participates as a member on International Boards/Task Forces/Committees of the International Joint Commission, including:

International Souris River Board of the International Joint Commission  
The International Souris River Board works to manage water quality and water quality in the Souris drainage basin to the benefit of all involved parties.  The Souris River originates in the Province of Saskatchewan, passes through the State of North Dakota, and then crosses into the Province of Manitoba before joining the Assiniboine River.

Accredited Officers for the St. Mary – Milk Rivers 
The Accredited Officers, appointed by the two governments, are responsible for the measurement and apportionment of waters of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers in accordance with a 1921 IJC Order governing the watersheds. 

Poplar River Bilateral Monitoring Committee 
This committee oversees monitoring programs to evaluate to monitor water quality and quantity in the Poplar River, and options by which water users in Montana could seek compensation for losses that might be attributed to the thermal power station. 

Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment   
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is the primary minister-led intergovernmental forum for collective action on environmental issues of national and international concern.

Ministers set the strategic direction for the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment, setting out the broad outcomes they seek to achieve.  Senior officials establish working groups of experts from the federal, provincial, and territorial environmental ministries to work collaboratively to accomplish specific goals, with the support of a permanent secretariat. The province of Saskatchewan represented by the Water Security Agency participates as a member of the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s Water Management Committee.