Manitoba has announced the Watershed District Act and registered two new regulations that will formalize a watershed-based approach in the province.

“Our government recognizes the importance of local decision-making around water and we want to build on the success of the conservation districts model to advance watershed management in our province,” said Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen. “As identified in our Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, and committed to in our 100-day Action Plan, this new model of improved watershed management strategies will improve the quality of our water in lakes, wetlands, rivers, and streams, an important step towards mitigating climate change locally and globally.”

The Watershed Districts Act modernizes the Conservation District Program by shifting districts to watershed-based boundaries. It also adds flexibility for local watershed districts in the areas of board appointments and terms and calculating municipal contributions. In addition to this, the Watershed Districts Act adds flexibility for handling board contracts and agreements related to water and soil projects that build watershed resiliency in a changing climate.

Other changes include:

  • Renaming conservation districts to watershed districts with watershed-based boundaries.
  • Allowing partnerships with non-municipal entities to enhance watershed management plan implementation.
  • Identifying a consistent approach to the transition to watershed districts.
  • Clarifying watershed district board policies and procedures.

“Our government is committed to becoming Canada’s cleanest, greenest, most climate-resilient province, and an important part of achieving that goal is to ensure the sustainability of our wetlands and watershed today, and for generations to come,” said Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard. “Initiatives to address overall water management and water quality are critical as we move forward to address climate change and improve watershed resiliency in the face of floods, drought, and extreme weather events.”

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Manitoba has also announced more than $150 million in funding to the GROW Trust and the Conservation Trust. The Conservation Trust is intended in part to help support the work, including watershed planning and projects, undertaken by the Watershed Districts.

More information regarding Manitoba’s Watershed District Program can be found here.

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