Water Management Agreements

British Columbia works with other jurisdictions to manage and protect common water resources.

Mackenzie River Basin 

The Mackenzie River Basin Board was established under the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement between the Government of Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories. The Board acts to carry out the purposes of the Master Agreement.

Bilateral Water Management Agreements (BWMAs) are agreements made in support of achieving the terms of the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement. Bilateral Water Management Agreements define how provincial and territorial governments will work together to manage transboundary waters in the region.

The Master Agreement makes provisions for seven BWMAs between neighbouring jurisdictions. Three of the BWMAs involve B.C.:

Completed and approved in October 2015 and March 2017 respectively, the British Columbia–Northwest Territories BWMA and the British-Columbia-Yukon BWMA include broad management principles to maintain ecological integrity of the aquatic ecosystem for all shared groundwater and surface water crossings between jurisdictions within the Mackenzie River Basin. The agreement sets clear ground rules for how the B.C. and territorial governments will manage shared waters through commitments to water quality, quantity and aquatic ecosystem health at the transboundary crossings, and how they will make future water management decisions.

B.C. anticipates completing a Bilateral Water Management Agreement with Alberta in 2017.

Abbotsford-Sumas Aquifer

A bilateral water management agreement exists between B.C. and Washington State in the U.S. to coordinate efforts to protect the Abbotsford-Sumas aquifer across the common border between Canada and the United States.