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Healthy water and Manitoba’s Climate and Green Plan

The Manitoba government recently released its Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan, a proposed framework to support environmental protection, natural resource management and sustainable development.

The plan’s actions are organized within four key pillars: climate, jobs, water and nature.

The Water Pillar of the government’s proposed framework provides a necessary starting point to improve water management for the benefit of all Manitobans. However, the plan does not yet go far enough. The pledges put forward by Manitoba Sustainable Development in this consultation framework must now guide the development of measurable targets, strategic action, and transparent monitoring and reporting systems to fully realize a robust, accountable and outcome-oriented plan.

Our submission to the provincial government stressed the need for a transparent, accountable and evidence-based approach to water management. More specifically, we are recommending:

  • Protecting Manitoba’s remaining threatened wetlands with strong regulation that prevents ongoing damage to class III, IV and V wetlands;
  • Ensuring that any investment in the government’s proposed GRowing Outcomes for Watersheds (GROW) incentive program achieves a net gain in ecological goods and services for all Manitobans;
  • Clearly articulating water quality targets for Manitoba’s sub-watersheds and providing detailed timelines for their achievement;
  • Demonstrating measureable ecological outcomes for all action and investment, using data from diverse and credible sources, including community-based monitoring; and
  • Adopting a comprehensive, whole-ecosystem approach to adaptive management.

We look forward to working with government to develop a measurable and actionable plan for the sustainable management of Manitoba’s water resources, including Lake Winnipeg.

Want to learn more? Click here to read our submission on the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.

Take action

The provincial government is inviting citizens to share their views on the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan through an online survey. The deadline to participate is Dec. 22, 2017. You can find the survey here.

Question 7 asks for suggestions for action. This is an opportunity to let the government know that evidence-based water management to improve the health of Lake Winnipeg must be a priority of any new plan.

Here’s an example of a helpful comment:

“I care deeply about the health of Manitoba’s lakes, and expect strong provincial leadership in protecting our freshwater resources.

The Water Pillar of Manitoba’s proposed Green Plan would be much improved with the addition of measureable targets, strategic action, and transparent monitoring and reporting systems.

Specifically, I support protecting Manitoba’s threatened wetlands through strict regulation and improved enforcement.

I also expect investment in monitoring programs to establish baselines and measure the outcomes of any new initiatives. This monitoring should go beyond measuring the number of projects or the area covered. Instead, monitoring should be designed specifically to measure reductions in phosphorus loading, and all results should be shared publicly to ensure transparency and accountability.”

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