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SaskH2O Home | About SaskH2O
About SaskH2O 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 and Responsibilities

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 Walkerton, 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 public.

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 inquiry 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 report, 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 directed at 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 Saskatchewan.

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.

Quick Fact: Canada's rivers and lakes contain enough water to flood the entire country to a depth of more than 2 metres.