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Lake Winnipeg Basin

Lake Winnipeg is the tenth largest freshwater lake in the world and faces a multitude of environmental challenges. Lake Winnipeg receives water from a vast watershed that drains 90 per cent of the prairie agricultural region (including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario in Canada and Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota in the U.S.). Nutrient loads on Lake Winnipeg, primarily from municipal and agricultural sources, have apparently exceeded ecological thresholds and Lake Winnipeg is now deservedly the subject of concerted scientific and institutional attention. Lake Winnipeg's water quality is being degraded by several human activities that influence water and nutrient flows in its enormous basin. Natural and human-influenced non-point sources (pollution whose source is diffuse) account for a substantial portion of the nutrient loads that make their way into the lake. Preventing further degradation of Lake Winnipeg requires innovative approaches to positively influence watershed processes and mitigate non-point nutrient loading.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development is involved in research and analysis of integrated water resources management and the use of innovative policies for nutrient management in the Lake Winnipeg Basin. The Water Innovation Centre will further this work in the areas of integrated land and water management by coordinated existing and proposed work towards basin-wide solutions. The Centre will also continue work on watershed governance, ecosystem services valuation and management, and appropriate technologies for watershed-based management. Our work is grounded in the guiding principles of sustainable development and adaptive management.