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Developing a Policy for Establishing Water Quality and Effluent Guidelines under the MVRMA. Water/Effluent Quality Guidelines Working Group August 28, 2008. Overview. Introduce project team Project purpose Approach and methodology Preliminary observations

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Developing a policy for establishing water quality and effluent guidelines under the mvrma

Developing a Policy for EstablishingWater Quality and Effluent Guidelinesunder the MVRMA

Water/Effluent Quality Guidelines Working GroupAugust 28, 2008


  • Introduce project team

  • Project purpose

  • Approach and methodology

  • Preliminary observations

  • Identify further sources of information and stakeholders to be interviewed

Project team
Project Team

Michael van Aanhout

Senior Advisor

Charles Birchall

Senior Legal Advisor

Expertise: Strategic planning, environmental protection policy, environmental management, evaluation and auditing, facilitation

Clients: Fed, Prov, Territorial Governments, Mining, Oil and Gas, NGOs

Expertise: Water law, environmental assessment, Aboriginal law

Clients: Environment Canada, Health Canada, Industry Canada

Kristi Ross

Legal Analyst

Michael Gullo

Project Manager

Vicky Weekes


Expertise: Environmental evaluation and review, corporate planning, project management

Clients: Federal Government, International Institutions, Mining, Forest Products, NGOs

Expertise: Water law, environmental planning, environmental assessment

Clients: Environment Canada, Health Canada, Industry Canada

Expertise: Water management, environmental planning, policy research and analysis

Clients: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, City of Toronto, National Capital Commission

Context need

OAG Report 2005

MacDonald Report 2007

Working Group

Audit: Evaluated INAC’s performance relative to its responsibilities set out in the MVRMA for the development of non-renewable resources in the NWT.

Recommendation:“INAC, in consultation with the boards under the MVRMA, should develop standards for water and the Minister should direct the boards to use the standards.”

Option 1:Establish uniform water quality objectives

Option 2:Establish industry-specific effluent quality criteria

Option 3:Establish a process or procedure for defining the above that can be consistently applied on a case-by-case basis

  • Established in 2008

  • Comprised of staff from:


  • Gwichi’in Land & Water Board

  • Sahtu Land & Water Board

  • Wek’eezhii Land & Water Board

Water Management Goal: Provide project proponents with greater certainty about water quality standards that must be met to mitigate project impacts.

Water Management Goal: Select a NWT-suitable approach to establish greater certainty about water quality standards in the licensing process.

Water Management Goal: Create clear and consistent policy and procedures for deriving water quality / effluent criteria for water licenses.

Project purpose
Project Purpose

  • Purpose: Develop a policy that outlines an overall management framework, an approach and specific procedures for deriving water quality and effluent guidelines for the Land and Water Boards under the MVRMA.

Rather than establish fixed water quality and effluent standards…

…establish a process that Land and Water Boards can apply consistently to derive and apply project-specific water quality and effluent criteria.

Water management context
Water Management Context

Source: Pollution Probe. 2008. A New Approach to Water Management in Canada. Available at

Nwt context
NWT Context

Federal Legislation & Regulations

Land Claims

Water Monitoring




Procedure for Setting EQCs

Keepers of the Water, Water Wise

NWT Water Strategy

Land Use Plans

Development Sectors (Industrial, Municipal)

Baseline Data

WQO (stated in different contexts)






Source: Locke, S. Water Policy in Canada: National Workshop Series. Moncton, New Brunswick. October 4–5, 2006.

Our methodology

Feedback from WG

Kickoff Meeting


Jurisdictional Analysis

Gap Analysis


Options Workshop

Develop Draft Policy

Feedback from WG

Briefing with WG

Feedback from WG

Our Methodology


1- Project Initiation and Management

Approval of work plan

2- Research and Analysis

Gap analysis and

jurisdictional report

Draft and revised

discussion paper

3- Discussion Paper

Workshop summary


4- Dialogue

5- Water Quality Policy

Draft and revised


Gap analysis framework planning
Gap Analysis Framework: Planning

Water quality plan or strategy?

Roles & responsibilities clearly defined?

Short- and long-term goals, objectives & targets?

Integrated with other resource management plans?

Consider water quality with new project development?

Consider cumulative effects with new project development?

Ecosystem goals and objectives?

Consider inter-jurisdictional water issues?

Gap analysis framework implementation
Gap Analysis Framework: Implementation


Standards & Objectives?

Public Involvement?

Water protection / management statutes & regulations?

Water quality / effluent guidelines & objectives?

Contribute to goal setting?

Guidance documents or policies for applying water quality standards and managing water resources with new project development?

Involved in decision-making?

Nature of water issues covered?

Involvement of First Nations governments?

Mandatory or discretionary provisions?

Adaptive management?

Gap analysis framework monitoring
Gap Analysis Framework: Monitoring



Mandatory water quality monitoring?

Regular public reporting?

Monitoring and evaluation results communicated to appropriate jurisdictions ?

Mandatory water quantity monitoring?

Gap analysis monitoring
Gap Analysis: Monitoring

  • Selected monitoring data and reports are publically available (online).

  • Project specific data and reports submitted to Boards

  • No evidence that monitoring efforts are connected to specific goals or performance measures or a broader water strategy.

  • No evidence of procedures or a process for using monitoring data to improve overall water management in the NWT.

Gap analysis framework improving
Gap Analysis Framework: Improving


Procedure in place for periodically evaluating compliance and performance?

Framework for setting and reviewing goals, objectives and targets?

Mechanisms for enhancing internal and external communication?

Gap analysis improving
Gap Analysis: Improving

  • The first NWT Environmental Audit Report was released in 2006 and is publically available (online).

  • It is unclear how or whether recommendations in the audit are incorporated into future water management practices.

  • No evidence of a framework for setting and reviewing goals, objectives and targets.

Developing a policy for establishing water quality and effluent guidelines under the mvrma

Jurisdictional Analysis:

Preliminary Observations

Jurisdictional analysis ontario
Jurisdictional Analysis: Ontario

  • No overarching strategy in place that addresses all aspects of water quality protection in a comprehensive manner.

  • Ontario’s approach to water has been largely reactive and has resulted in a maze of laws, regulations, standards and guidance materials:

    • Ontario Water Resources Act:

      • General water protection statute;

      • Permits to Take water – Applies to takings over 50,000 L of water per day; ecosystem and cumulative effects must be considered

    • The Environmental Protection Act:

      • Regulation of discharges to water in nine sectors: petroleum, pulp and paper, metal mining, industrial minerals, metal casting, organic chemical manufacturing, inorganic chemical, iron and steel, and electric power generation (MISA)

  • These two pieces of legislation proved to be ineffective, when seven people died and 2300 became ill after Walkerton's water supply became contaminated with manure spread on a farm near the town.

Jurisdictional ontario
Jurisdictional: Ontario

  • Key recommendations of the Walkerton Inquiry dealt with source water protection using watersheds as the basis for planning and management, a quality management system for water suppliers, and more competent enforcement.

  • Led to the creation of:

    • The Clean Water Act, that requires source water protection and engages local, watershed-based water governance; and

    • The SafeDrinking Water Act.

  • Ontario’s Water Quality Standards are fractured:

    • Ontario Drinking Water Standards, Objectives and Guideline, prescribed by O. Reg. 169/03 standards for 158 chemical/physical, microbiological and radiological parameters, human health, rather than ecosystem focus cf. Manitoba)

    • Provincial Water Quality Objectives:

      • Apply to surface and groundwater, focus is the protection of aquatic life and recreation uses

Jurisdictional analysis manitoba
Jurisdictional Analysis: Manitoba

  • Ministry of Water Stewardship promotes collaborative governance model with citizen engagement and local authorities and relies on local Conservation Districts to deliver water-related management, programs and monitoring.

  • Strong legislative foundation:

    • The Water Protection Act sets out binding water quality standards, objectives and guidelines;

    • The Environment Act sets enforceablelimits for the quality of industrialand municipal discharges; and

    • The Water Rights Act and Regulation requires a license when water usage exceeds 25,000 L/day.

  • Current proposal to consolidate all water protection measures into one Act.

Jurisdictional analysis manitoba1
Jurisdictional Analysis: Manitoba

  • Strong policy framework – Manitoba Water Strategy (April 2003) which focuses on:

    • Water quality;

    • Conservation;

    • Use & allocation;

    • Water supply;

    • Flooding; and

    • Drainage.

  • Integrated watershed-based land and water planning and management.

  • Manitoba Water Quality Standards, Objectives and Guidelines:

    • Uses a three-tiered approach, protects ground water and surface water as well as broader ecosystem integrity; and

    • Includes standards, objectives, and guidelines for over 100 materials, harmonizing the approach with principles advanced by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

Jurisdictional analysis saskatchewan
Jurisdictional Analysis: Saskatchewan

  • Ministry of Environment responsible for carrying out programs and services relating to water.

  • The Ministry’s website provides:

  • “Making sure that our water is clean and safe is a priority for the [Ministry] that often takes balancing the water and wastewater needs of the user with conserving the well-being of our aquatic ecosystems”.

  • The Environmental Management and Protection Act, 2002

    • Regulation of unauthorized discharges, water quality, drinking and wastewater. The Minister is responsible for:

      • The supervision, control and regulation of water quality; and

      • Any impairment of water quality by any adverse effect (s. 16).

Jurisdictional analysis saskatchewan1
Jurisdictional Analysis: Saskatchewan

  • On 28 March 2002, Commissioner Laing releases his report responding to the outbreak of cryptosporidium in North Battleford drinking water system.

  • Province acted on his 28 recommendations including:

    • Creation of the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority to better protect local water supplies;

    • Re-focusing of SaskWater to concentrate on helping communities find appropriate solutions to their water treatment infrastructure challenges;

    • Development of clearer, more effective regulations governing the management of waterworks;

    • Establishment of the Drinking Water Quality Section of Saskatchewan Environment to manage drinking water quality and related issues; and

    • Development of a new database containing water testing compliance performance and quality results to be available to the public.

Jurisdictional analysis saskatchewan2
Jurisdictional Analysis: Saskatchewan

  • The Saskatchewan Watershed Authority Act

    • Purpose and mandate of the Authority includes managing, controlling and protecting water, watersheds and related land resources of Saskatchewan (s. 5)

    • Authority’s powers include:

      • Regulate and control the flow of water in any water body;

      • Receive and consider applications for, and issue, water rights licenses and approvals; and

      • Promote, undertake and co-ordinate research, investigations, surveys, studies, programs and activities relating to the management, conservation and protection of water, watersheds, and related land sources of Sask.

  • Water Quality Management:

  • The Ministry has developed a framework for managing water quality that enables it to meet the following policy goals:

    • Preservation and protection of water supplies;

    • Encouragement of economic development;

    • Preservation of aesthetic values; and

    • Preservation of fish and wildlife.

Jurisdictional analysis saskatchewan3
Jurisdictional Analysis: Saskatchewan

  • Decisions relative to the permitting of effluent discharges are made using information on:

    • Water quality guidelines (WQGs) or WQOs;

    • The uses of the water body under consideration;

    • Site-specific water quality data;

    • The potential for adverse effects; and

    • The practicality of wastewater treatment.

  • Two types of WQOs:

    • General surface WQOs define basic quality characteristics (both narrative and numerical) of surface waters needed to afford a minimum level of protection; and

    • Site specific surface WQOs define concentrations and conditions needed to protect specific bodies of water.

Jurisdictional analysis saskatchewan4
Jurisdictional Analysis: Saskatchewan

  • Ministry has adopted a number of general objectives that apply to all waters receiving effluent discharges.

  • Ministry has established guidelines for effluent mixing zones.

  • Sask. model described as “well considered” and “scientifically defensible”.


  • Sources of Information?

  • Suggestions for Interviews?