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Water Stewardship Division

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About Us


The best water for all life and lasting prosperity


Manitoba Water Stewardship provides leadership in environmental stewardship for the benefit of current and future generations of Manitobans so the social, economic and inherent environmental value of water is protected and realized. Manitoba's water and fish resources are managed sustainably and people are safe from water hazards.


We, the people of Manitoba Water Stewardship believe the following qualities are intrinsically valuable. We are committed to these values and will strive to exhibit them in all our actions both within the organization and in our dealings with our clients and partners.


All relationships are built on mutual trust. We earnestly seek to build trust throughout our organization, and with all who are affected by our actions. In doing so, we strive to ensure consistency in our words and deeds, to communicate openly and honestly, and to be accountable for our actions.

Truth & Integrity

We are dedicated to the pursuit of truth. We are committed to ensuring a sound scientific basis for our actions. We are ever vigilant to ensure objectivity in our research and decision-making. We are honest in all our dealings.

Respect & Civility

We treat each other and all those we serve with the utmost civility and respect. We value the opportunity to develop the potential of every individual, and the strength of diversity. We are tolerant and understanding of the challenges faced by others.

Teamwork & Partnership

We work collaboratively within the organization and with our partners, leveraging our individual strengths to achieve even greater effectiveness through teamwork, cooperation, and sharing.


We are committed to excellence in all our work, including the work of prioritizing our limited resources to achieve the greatest good. We continually assess our performance. We believe in the importance of lifelong learning as a basis for developing new and creative means to more effectively address the needs of those we serve.

Participatory Democracy
  • We work to advance and improve our democracy by:
    • inclusive, community based development;
    • providing forums for meaningful participation in decision making processes by Manitobans;
    • improving and providing access to the scientific and other information necessary to enable such participation;
    • striving to achieve consensus amongst citizens with regard to decisions affecting them;
    • Respecting the roles and jurisdictions of our governments and elected officials.
Public Service

We proudly pursue public service as a calling to work for the greater good of our society and our planet. We accept the public trust for the protection and wise husbandry of water and aquatic resources that are common to all mankind.

Water Stewardship Principles

The following over arching principles articulate the application of the Sustainable Development Principles of Manitoba's Sustainable Development Act as they guide and direct the activities, initiatives and decision making of Manitoba Water Stewardships.

  • Integration of Environmental and Economic Decisions
    • While protection of key ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems is fundamental to all life and therefore paramount, the wealth generating and social benefits from sustainable use of aquatic resources must also be considered in all management decision making.
  • Stewardship
    • Stewardship is an ethic by which citizens care for our air, land and water as parts of a natural life-support system and collectively act to sustain and enhance it for generations to come. Within the context of current needs, aquatic resources shall be passed on to each subsequent generation in a better state (i.e. ecosystem integrity, human health and wealth generating potential) than it was received in.
  • Shared Responsibility and Understanding
    • While all Manitobans share responsibility for sustainable development the roles are different. Fish and Water management agencies are responsible for developing sustainable management approaches and decision making frameworks. Resource users are responsible for legal use of the resource and for participating in public forums in a spirit of partnership and open cooperation.
    • The unique rights of Aboriginal people shall be integrated into decision making along with the responsibility that such rights entail.
  • Prevention
    • Fish and Water management decision and actions, whose impacts are not entirely certain but which, on reasonable and well informed grounds appear to pose serious threats to either the economy, the environment, human health or social well being will be anticipated, mitigated and prevented (PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE).
  • Conservation and Enhancement
    • Fish and Water resources shall be managed firstly to ensure the ecological process of the environment are maintained and protected.
    • Fish and Water resources will not be used beyond their capacity to be naturally replenished.
    • No value has been given in traditional economic systems to the living systems and ecosystem services that are an integral part of natural capital. Because no value has been placed on these two categories, they have been over-consumed and over-polluted. Water Stewardship will strive to quantify and incorporate the value of living systems and ecosystem services into decision making.
  • Rehabilitation and Reclamation
    • Degraded Fish and Water resources will be rehabilitated for the benefit of current and future generations of Manitobans.
  • Global Responsibility
    • As a global leader in the responsible and sustainable management of aquatic resources Manitoba will make its knowledge and expertise available to other less fortunate areas of the world.
  • Efficient Use of Resources
    • Resource access pricing, demand management and allocation systems, legislation and incentives will be used to facilitate and encourage the efficient use of fish and water.
    • Full cost accounting will be employed in decision making.
    • Existing rights of resource users must continue be recognized.
    • Aquatic resources will be allocated to address the needs of society and individuals now and in the future recognizing differing regional needs and the value of these resources as natural capital (ecological services).
    • In the management of aquatic resources Manitoba will work cooperatively with all levels of government
  • Public Participation
    • Watershed management and planning will provide forums that will encourage and provide opportunity for consultation and meaningful participation in decision making processes by Manitobans.
    • Transparent processes and opportunity for information sharing and open communication will be provided.
  • Access to Services and Information
    • Regulatory and administrative process for managing fish and water resources must be efficient, fair, timely, and understandable and provide for accountability.
  • Integrated Decision-Making and Planning
    • Water, land and related resources are interdependent and must be managed as such.
    • Other natural resources and land use activities are affected by and affect aquatic resources use and management.
    • Aquatic resources management will be scientifically defensible and implemented on a watershed basis.
  • Waste Minimization and Substitution
    • Unsustainable or wasteful use of aquatic resources will be discouraged. Means of eliminating wasteful and inefficient practices shall be developed including incentives and disincentives.
  • Research and Innovation
    • The capacity of the research community (both government, academic and private) shall be encouraged to engage in the development of meaningful, management issue related (ecosystem and public health) research and monitoring to foster a better understanding of historical, current and future conditions leading to better management decision making.
Departmental Goals

These statements describe the outcomes we will strive to achieve over the next five years.

Human Health

Manitobans have safe drinking water and are protected from water and fish related health threats

Ecosystem Health

Aquatic life support systems are protected and improved

Quality of life

Sustainable and productive use of water and fishery resources benefits all Manitobans


Manitobans are adequately protected from floods, water shortages, droughts and other water-related hazards

Key Departmental Strategies
  • These are the approaches we will employ in achieving our departmental goals. They emanate from our environmental scan and from government policies.
    • Watershed-based planning and management that integrates surface and ground water, fisheries, land and other related resources.
    • New community based initiatives with new governance approaches built on citizen engagement.
    • Strong legislative and policy foundation.
    • Economic incentives that ensure markets reflect the true value of ecological services.
    • Locally delivered water related management and programs.
    • Innovative, sustainable funding methods and models
    • Capacity building internally and externally in support of departmental outcomes and strategies.