Goal 4: Report Emergency and Unusual Water Conditions

In the PPWB's Strategic Plan, Goal 4 is to inform jurisdictions of emergency and unusual water conditions. Historically, the Contingency Plan only considered spills that affected surface water but its scope was expanded in March 2010 to include emergency or unusual surface water quantity or groundwater quantity and quality events.

Careful day-to-day management and spill prevention are the best ways to maintain good interprovincial water quality and quantity. However, with all the human activity near prairie streams or interprovincial aquifers, the occasional spill or event is inevitable. Unusual water quality conditions that cause public concern may also be detected.


For these occurrences, the Prairie Provinces Water Board (PPWB) has implemented a Contingency Plan that is used to provide a coordinated system for communicating information among the jurisdictions that are party to the Master Agreement on Apportionment, on events that have the potential to adversely affect transboundary water bodies or aquifers or cause public concern.   The Contingency Plan will provide the protocol for cooperation, communication and notification amongst the PPWB Member jurisdictions.  This Contingency Plan does not supercede any local, provincial, federal or national contingency plans now in existence.

The Plan in Action

The plan may be invoked by the Party of the jurisdiction in which the spill or event originates and is within the area of responsibility of that Party, and which is accompanied by a threat of the spread of any spills or unusual water quality or quantity conditions that has the potential to adversely affect transboundary water bodies or aquifers or cause public concern. 

Upon notification of an event, the lead Party will:


  1.  Immediately contact the appropriate agencies via existing 24-hour spill lines, if necessary.  This will be determined by whether the contact has previously been made or the lead has determined that it is not necessary. 

  2. Provide results of immediate investigations or follow-up studies of the event to the relevant committees, their alternates, the PPWB Executive Director, and the PPWB Secretary. 

Environment and Climate Change Canada will undertake increased monitoring at PPWB sites as necessary.

The relevant committees, if requested by the Board, will report on the implication of any such circumstances and advise the Board accordingly.

   3. The PPWB Event Form must be completed and distributed to the Board, to the relevant Committees, the PPWB Executive Director and the PPWB Secretary. 


The MAA was signed in 1969 by Canada and the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in recognition of the need to cooperatively share and manage interprovincial waters for the benefit of present and future generations.