Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Water Strategy

Nova Scotia’s Water Resources Management Strategy

Nova Scotia's Water Portal - Water for Life

Nova Scotia's new Water Portal acts at the nexus of community, industry, academia and government to manage our most valued resource - water. Visit the Water Portal.

Good, clean, and abundant water is essential for people and for the environment to survive. It is also critical for many of the activities that help communities and ecosystems to thrive. We must take action today to ensure that we continue to enjoy the benefits of our water in the future. We value water for our health, both physically and emotionally. We know we need water to survive. When has your spirit not been lifted when you see or feel the beauty of water?

The province of Nova Scotia is pleased to announce the release of Water for Life: Nova Scotia’s Water Resource Management StrategyPDF Download Link (PDF:1.4mb) | De l'eau pour la vie - STRATÉGIE DE GESTION DES RESSOURCES EN EAU DE LA NOUVELLE-ÉCOSSE (PDF:692Ko).

Water for Life provides a road map for water management in Nova Scotia over the next 10 years and beyond.

This water strategy will guide us in the management of water for the benefit of communities, businesses, industries, First Nations, and individuals. It ensures that we’re staying on our path to sustainable prosperity. It ensures Nova Scotia will remain a great place to live, work, play and do business into the future.

Water for Life proposes actions under the following four areas:

Integrated Water Management (IWM)PDF Download Link (PDF:72k)

IWM is a comprehensive approach to managing water resources, including human activities and their effects on watersheds and ecosystems. It aims to ensure sustainability of water resources and their functions today and into the future.

For example, the strategy commits to establishing a Nova Scotia Water Advisory Group to work in partnership with government and advise it on the implementation of IWM and the strategy.

Understand the quality and quantity of our waterPDF Download Link (PDF:56k)

One of the keys to integrating water management is the sound knowledge of our provincial water resources. This includes understanding how watersheds work, the impacts of activities on water, how much water the province has, how it’s being used, and water effect climate change will have.

For example, the strategy commits to assessing surface water and groundwater resources in watersheds. To start working on this, a research partnership has been struck with the Dr. Shannon Sterling's Hydrologic Systems Research Group at Dalhousie University to bring together information currently available on Nova Scotia’s major watersheds into a comprehensive map-database, and create a tool to assess the state of the watersheds in Nova Scotia.

Protect the quality and quantity of our waterPDF Download Link (PDF:56k)

Protecting our water is critical if we want to have a sustainable economy and way of life in this province. Protection includes addressing the needs of the natural environment as well as people, both physically and economically.

For example, the strategy commits to requiring conservation plans from large water users. This will encourage efficiency, reuse and other innovative approaches to lessening the demands we are placing on our water resources.

Engage in caring for our waterPDF Download Link (PDF:56k)

All people in the province need water and everyone can play a role in its management, not just the government. It doesn’t matter if it is a business, an organization, the Mi’kmaq, or is simply an individual. We can help them by providing education, training, information, and participation opportunities.

For example, the strategy commits to building community capacity for water monitoring in watersheds across the province. Initial work on this has begun through a project partnership with the Community Based Environmental Monitoring Network who is developing a monitoring toolkit and training program for water quality.

Nova Scotia Watershed Assessment Program

The Dalhousie University Hydrologic Systems Research Group at Dalhousie University, in collaboration with Nova Scotia Environment, has designed and initiated a Nova Scotia Watershed Assessment Program (NSWAP). The NSWAP project has been planned as a two-part project (Part A and Part B), with the first phase of Part A now complete. In Phase 1 of Part A the goal was to gather data, construct a geodatabase, create watershed models, and produce a series of maps.

The technical aspects of NSWAP Phase 1 have been summarized in a technical report, which explains the project methodology and procedures. A series of maps has also been generated from the information obtained in Part A, Phase 1. A discussion paper summarizing the results is also available.


The NSWAP Part A, Phase 2 is now underway. This project continues the partnership between Nova Scotia Environment and Dalhousie University’s Hydrologic Systems Research Group. The goal of the Part A, Phase 2 project are to enhance the products delivered on in Phase 1, to refine and release a series of watershed report cards for the Province of Nova Scotia, to refine and release a NSWAP geodatabase, and to update the map series generated in the Phase 1 project.

We anticipate the watershed report cards and watershed geodatabase will be available by early 2013.