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We convene opinion leaders and experts from across Canada around our table to share their knowledge and diverse perspectives. We stimulate debate and integrate polarities. We create a context for possibilities to emerge.


We generate ideas and provide realistic solutions to advise governments, Parliament and Canadians. We proceed with resolve and optimism to bring Canada’s economy and environment closer together.

Appendix I – Moving to Action: NRT National Water Forum Report




  • The federal, provincial and territorial governments should collaborate in the development and publication of a national water-use forecast, updated on a regular basis — a Water Outlook — the first to be published within two years. This could be led by a national organization such as the Canadian Council for Ministers of the Environment.
  • Governments should develop new predictive tools, such as water forecasting, to improve their understanding of where and when water demands might increase. The information provided by forecasts will be important to inform water allocations and management strategies in the future.
  • Recognizing that accurate water forecasting requires improving how we measure and report water-quantity data, governments and industry should work collaboratively to develop appropriate measurement and reporting requirements on a sector-by-sector basis.


  • Provincial and territorial governments should establish demand-side data systems that have clearly defined reporting requirements for water licence holders. These systems would have common obligations to report provisions, contain defined time periods for reporting, and introduce enforcement programs to ensure reporting of water use by water licence holders.
  • The provinces and territories, in collaboration with stakeholders and partners, should develop common measurement techniques to collect water-quantity data.
  • The provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with the natural resource sectors, should research the sector-specific future water data needs of their jurisdictions. These initiatives would help jurisdictions identify and develop data-management approaches and systems that have buy-in from the natural resource sectors.
  • Governments at all levels should collaborate with partners and stakeholders to develop and integrate water-quantity data for use as a water-management tool at a local watershed scale. Provinces and territories should first develop integrated water-management tools within their jurisdictions at a finer spatial resolution, as it is easier to “roll-up” small-scale assessments to larger scales rather than to disaggregate an initial assessment performed at a larger spatial scale.
  • In collaboration with partners and stakeholders, governments at all levels, should develop protocols for transparent access to water data. Provinces and territories should continue establishing their own water-data portals. The federal government should develop a national web-based water portal in collaboration with the provinces and territories, that also provides access to provincial and territorial water portals.


  • Governments should research the relationship between water use and pricing needs before they implement water pricing on a volumetric basis. Specifically, they need to better understand the potential implications on sectors and firms. In order to do so, data on water-use needs to improve, to gain a better understanding of water intakes, recirculation, and recycling within facilities.
  • The natural resource sectors should look closely at their water intake and where the costs rest within their use of water. Incorporating the “value” of water into operations may reveal opportunities for cost savings, through implementation of improved technologies or best management practices, possibly leading to overall water intake reductions.
  • If a price is put on water use by the natural resource sectors, revenues should be directed to support watershed-based governance and management initiatives, rather than put into general revenue of the province or territory.
  • Recognizing that further research is required on the use of economic instruments within the context of watersheds, governments intending to use EIs should evaluate their environmental, economic, and social implications, allowing for an informed discussion of trade-offs.


  • Governments should affirm the legitimacy of collaborative water governance and demonstrate that collaborative governance bodies have an important role to play. If governments choose to invest in collaborative processes, they must act on the recommendations provided by the collaborative process as much as possible and commit to provide formal feedback to the group when recommendations are ignored. Otherwise, participants from the natural resource sectors will lose confidence and leave the process, given the significant time and financial commitment for them.
  • Governments must recognize that collaborative water governance structures require clear roles and responsibilities and well-defined accountability rules. Most people and organizations involved in collaborative water governance across Canada, including the natural resource sectors, believe that there is insufficient clarity about authority and accountability for decision making within the current frameworks. As a minimum, the Terms of Reference for the collaborative processes require a written description of roles and responsibilities. A more formal document would strengthen the accountability, and in some cases, governments may want to enshrine the governance structure into a new piece of legislation.
  • Collaborative water governance processes should be developed and implemented in a coordinated manner with other planning processes and policies. Water governance is not only about water and cannot take place in isolation from other planning processes affecting and involving the natural resource sectors, such as municipal land use planning or forest management plans. As these processes operate at various scales and involve several orders of governments, policy alignment will require coordination between a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations.
  • Governments should provide incentives for participation. Effective collaborative water governance requires the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders, including the major water users in the natural resources sectors. For collaborative water governance processes to become operating concerns in the natural resources sectors (rather than optional activities), government must identify them as a priority. This could be done by making participation mandatory, through regulation or as a condition of water licences.