Frequently Asked Questions

Answers are provided under the General heading below for the frequently asked general questions.

Other Frequently Asked Questions/Answers for specific program areas are provided under in the Surface Water Quantity Activities, Surface Water Quality Activities and Groundwater Activites menues.

If you have another question that is not addressed below or elsewhere in the website, please Contact Us.

No, the PPWB is a non-regulatory intergovernmental group that does not have any legislative enforcement powers.

Provincial agencies are responsible to manage and grant allocations of water within each province. The Provinces are also responsible to regulate water infrastructure development and industry.

Provincial agencies are the primary authority that manage water within each province. These agencies have diverse responsibilities to manage water: control and regulate water control infrastructure, forecast flooding, regulate drinking and source water, manage water quality, fish populations, monitor the state of the environment, and license water uses. Provincial PPWB members are responsible to ensure that the Master Agreement on Apportionment's water quantity and quality requirements are met at provincial boundaries. Provinces have flexibility in how they achieve these quantity and quality requirements.

The federal government is responsible to facilitate the PPWB and interprovincial issues. The Constitution gives the federal government the power to address differences among provinces. The Canada Water Act gives the authority to allow the federal government to be a member of the federal-provincial PPWB agreement. Disagreements amongst PPWB members can be referred to the Federal Court of Canada. Under the Master Agreement on Apportionment, the federal government is responsible to conduct and pay for monitoring.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is the lead federal department on water issues and represents Canada on international issues. Environment and Climate Change Canada conducts water quantity and quality monitoring for the PPWB. The department administers the Canda Water Act, and is responsible for source water protection on federal and Aboriginal lands, regulation of toxic substances, protection of fish habitat from deleterious substances, and assessing the state of the environment.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada was the founding federal member of the PPWB. The department works with Environment and Climate Change Canada to fulfill the federal responsibilities of the PPWB. The department is involved in promoting environmentally sustainable agriculture.

Other federal departments are involved in water issues. Alhtough none of these departments directly participate in the PPWB, federal PPWB members would consult with them if needed. Health Canada is the lead federal department on the protection of drinking water and is involved with the regulation of toxic substances. Indian and Northern Affairs Canada is the lead federal department for Aboriginal lands. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is the lead federal department to protect coastal and inland fish habitat. Transport Canada administers the Navigation Protection Act that ensures that all Canadians have access to navigable waters.

No, the Master Agreement on Apportionment refers to all eastward surface waters, but the PPWB focuses on the major rivers that provide much of the water supplies in the Prairie Provinces or smaller creeks that feed into rivers that cross into the USA, where Canada has international committments to deliver water.

The PPWB Secretariat computes apportionable flows at the 15 PPWB rivers using Environment and Climate Change Canada's and other agencies' monitoring data from 91 stations on 12 river basins (see Where We Monitor). Similarly, water quantity is monitored by Environment and Climate Change Canada at 12 of these 15 water quantity stations. The PPWB Secretariat compares sampled amounts of water quality parameters with PPWB site-specific objectives in 12 of these sites.

For groundwater, any transboundary Prairie aquifer can be considered as water can move east or westwards across provincial borders.

No, the Agreement will continue forever unless all of the Signatory parties formally change the Agreement.

Promote public awareness of the need for and benefits of interprovincial water management and the PPWB's mandate.