"...boundary waters and the waters flowing across the boundary shall not be polluted on either side to the injury of health or property on the other."
-Article IV, Boundary Waters Treaty, 1909
This short but powerful statement requires that Canada and the United States ensure that neither country will pollute water that flows across their common boundary to an extent that would cause harm to health or property in the other country. This clause and subsequent direction from the two governments has served as the impetus for the International Joint Commission’s work on water quality since its inception.
If the governments have questions or differences concerning water quality along the border, they may ask the IJC to study these issues and assist them with meeting their treaty commitments. To that end, the governments can ask the IJC to investigate or monitor water quality, or to alert them to any water quality concerns the IJC finds in the course of fulfilling its duties.
IJC Boards with Water Quality Responsibilities:
- Souris River Board
- Red River Board
- Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board
- St. Croix River Watershed Board
IJC Great Lakes Advisory Boards with Water Quality Responsibilities:
- Great Lakes Water Quality Board
- Great Lakes Science Advisory Board
- Health Professionals Advisory Board
Other IJC Water Quality activities:
Past IJC Water Quality References:
- Phosphorus Loading in Missisquoi Bay, September 2012
- Report on the Pollution of Boundary Waters Reference, 1918