The PPWB describes the water quality objectives as "descriptions of water quality conditions that are known to protect human and ecological health, and are acceptable to upstream and downstream provinces.
Interestingly, Alberta raised this objection when the PPWB first considered the possibility of recommending an allocation of water to the South Saskatchewan River Project during the 1950s.
The annual reports of the PPWB from 2006 to 2010 provide only a crude and unhelpful measure of the extent to which the provinces are meeting their objectives.
The annual reports rarely provide explanations of how and why the objectives were not achieved, although a PPWB publication in 1996 sought to explain why there were frequent problems meeting certain water quality objectives in the Red Deer River at the boundary between Alberta and Saskatchewan (PPWB 1996).
However, the Agreement and the PPWB are generally regarded as successes and this may be attributed in part to the restricted scope of both the agreement and the mandate of the Board.
The experience of the PPWB shows that initial baselines for water quality objectives can be quickly established by taking into account the requirements of other jurisdictions and bodies such as the Canadian Council of Ministers of Environment, with provision for regular review at required intervals.
Prepared by Anne-Marie Anderson, Alberta Environment, for the PPWB Committee on Water Quality.