“The Peace River Regional District is pleased to see the new level of effort the province has undertaken in the characterization of water in our region and the establishment of a Northeast Water Strategy,” writes PRRD char Lori Ackerman.

The purpose of this initiative is to bring together the needs of First Nations, municipalities, industry, and the environment into a single blueprint for monitoring and managing water resources in the northeast, according to the Minister of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.

“This strategy was built collaboratively with Treaty 8 First Nations, industry and communities in the northeast,” writes Minster Thomson. “It lays the framework to ensure healthy and sustainable water resources for communities, industry and the environment in the northeast.”

The framework is being established in the wake of anticipated increases in population growth, industrial needs and climate change, says Minister Thomson.

In an effort to strengthen the strategy, it will be built on the already existing water stewardship regime while improving its ability to manage surface water and ground water – ensuring human and ecosystem needs continue to be met, according to the ministry.

“Water is our most important resource, writes Diane Abel, director of administration for the Treaty 8 Tribal Association. Water is life [and] we look forward to working with the province on a new era of water stewardship through the collaborative implementation of the Northeast Water Strategy.”

The objectives of the strategy, according to the ministry, are a unified water stewardship, healthy aquatic ecosystems, clean water and the sustainable use of water resources in the region.

To fulfill these objectives, the ministry has outlined five areas of action:

  1. Enhance information to support decision making
  2. Strengthen the regulatory regime
  3. Co-ordinate and streamline decision-making processes
  4. Enhance monitoring and reporting
  5. Build a water stewardship ethic

The province will now partner with First Nations, other levels of government, industry, community members and academia to implement the strategy over the next three fiscal years.