brings together, under one web address, information and services
available from the Government of Saskatchewan that relate to water,
regardless of the department or agency that produces the information or
offers the service.
This site was built on contributions from Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Saskatchewan
Ministry of Health, Saskatchewan Watershed Authority, SaskWater, Saskatchewan Ministry of
Municipal Affairs and Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.
Water Information Partners - Roles
History: In January 1999, the province released the
Water Management Framework
outlining a vision for safe and reliable water supplies within healthy
and diverse aquatic ecosystems. The framework established goals for
water management, objectives that provincial agencies must fulfill to
realize water management goals, and various actions. The framework
recognized that current water management practices in Saskatchewan did
not effectively integrate the interests of agencies resulting in a lack
of coordination of activities, communication and the need for a more
efficient decision-making process. The framework called for actions to
review and modify mandates and activities of provincial agencies involved
in water management to increase service delivery efficiencies. The
actions of the WMF have and are being incorporated into current and
future water management directions and policies.
Walkerton: In May 2000, Canada learned of a tragedy in
Ontario, which resulted in approximately 2,000 cases of illness, caused 952 residents to seek
medical attention and resulted in the death of seven persons. The
outbreak was linked to a combination of contamination and inadequate
disinfection of the Town of Walkerton's water supply. The tragedy in
Ontario attracted the attention of governments across Canada while media
attention heightened the importance of vigilance with respect to all
aspects of water treatment for municipalities and involved governing
provincial jurisdictions across Canada.
Saskatchewan quickly reacted to the Walkerton incident
by taking actions to enhance detection, resolve potential or real
problems, prevent water contamination and improve communication with
municipalities, between government departments and agencies, and with the
North Battleford: In
April, 2001, the residents of North Battleford were ordered to boil their
drinking water after the protozoan parasite "Cryptosporidium parvum"
was detected in the community's drinking water system. Six to seven
thousand people became ill after consuming water from the community, but
no fatalities were attributed to the outbreak.
In May, 2001, an
was called into the North Battleford incident to determine the cause of the
events, the effectiveness of officials in response, and the effect of
relevant regulations, policies, procedures and practices. Commissioner Laing's
which included findings and recommendations, was released
in April, 2002. Justice Laing concluded that a waterborne parasite,
Cryptosporidium, had entered the drinking water system in North
Battleford in March and April 2001 and was responsible for the resulting
cases of illness. Commissioner Laing made 28 recommendations
Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment, Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the City of North Battleford. The recommendations focus on preventing further incidents
from occurring in the future.
Aftermath: In the aftermath of
events surrounding Walkerton, Ontario and North Battleford, Saskatchewan,
governments across Canada have moved to strengthen requirements and
refocus the roles of regulatory agencies that manage drinking water and
related raw water sources.
Human Health is the primary concern.
Avoiding Risks to drinking water is the first priority.
Openness and Clear Communication will ensure everyone understands and
carries out their responsibilities.
Realistic Pricing acknowledges the value of safe drinking water.
Accurate and Timely Information about water problems and solutions is
essential for waterworks owners, operators, regulators and users.
All Levels of Government and Citizens Must Work Together to develop and
implement water management solutions
Long Term Safe Drinking Water Strategy:
In April, 2002, the Government of Saskatchewan released a Long-Term Safe Drinking Water
Strategy (LTSDWS) in response to the Report on the Commission of Inquiry
into public drinking water in North Battleford and as a planned component
of other longer-term changes stemming from the Walkerton tragedy. The
LTSDWS was developed with the vision of ensuring sustainable, reliable
safe and clean supply of drinking water that is valued by the citizens of
The LTSDWS has become the focal point for future water management in
Saskatchewan and has functioned as the strategic driver for changes made
to legislation, regulations, departments, agencies and activities since
its announcement in April of 2002.
Additional information on the LTSDWS values, principles, goals and objectives is available.