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Water classification process
Program objectives
The Water Classification's aim is to determine goals for water quality and to promote a responsible management of water in a hydrographical basin. The Water Classification Regulation was adopted in March 2002 and it is associated with the New-Brunswick Clean Water Act.
Water Classification is a New-Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government initiative which aims at classifying surface water (waterways) according to criteria that takes into account water quality and present and future human activities near waterways. Consequently, Water Classification is a regulation tool that takes into account environmental and socio-economic objectives determined by local communities.
Step-by-step process
The Water Classification Regulation is a process that aims to establish goals concerning the management of water quality on the scale of one or more watersheds. In the course of the process, the Department of Environment and Local Government calls to local community groups and associations to perform data collection on water quality and to group together stakeholders and decision makers from concerned communities.
These same associations are responsible for proposing waterway management objectives to the population and hold public consultation meetings on that subject. Actually, the participation of local stakeholders and the general public is an important factor to the process of Water Classification that allows all to understand the issues related to the management of water inside a watershed.
The main steps of Water Classification.
Identify and involve local stakeholders
Collect data on water quality
Collect information on land and water use
Establish goals for water quality
Prepare and put in place action plans
 
The public's role
 
An important step in the Water Classification process is public consultation. Data collected during the study is then presented to the public. Once the public is informed on the water quality of a river or a stream in particular, it is invited to become involved in the drafting of management objectives for their watershed.
The Regulation ensures the public's participation in the New-Brunswick water classification. Public participation can include meetings with watershed management community groups, stakeholders and people interested in the watershed.
The goal of public participation is to allow individuals and concerned groups to draft a vision for water management in the future and to collaborate on establishing water quality goals.
Water quality classes
The Department of Environment and Local Government proposes six categories of waterways in the province:
O Exceptional Natural Waters
AP Designated potable water
AL Lakes not classified as O or AP
A Excellent water quality
B Good water quality
C Acceptable water quality
Example of water classification in a watershed
 
Exceptional Water Quality Category
The exceptional water quality category is a special category aimed at protecting unique or representative lakes or rivers of which the quality of water is essentially natural and that have had little or no impacts from human activities. Groups or individuals can propose that a lake or river be designated in this category, as long as the waterway answers to the category criteria.
AP Category
The AP category aims extra protection of hydrographical basins of surface water supplies designated as municipal drinking water supplies according to the Watershed Protection Area Designation Order under the Clean Water Act. There are currently thirty hydrographical basins in the province.
AL Category
Lakes are recognized as sensitive systems that need to be managed differently than rivers and streams. That's why all lakes that aren't classified in the Exceptional Water Quality Category or the AP Category will automatically be placed in the AL Category on the date the Water Classification Act comes into effect. Some reservoirs are excluded from this category.
Categories A, B, and C
Rivers and other waterways that are not included in the above categories are classified in Category A, B, or C. Each one of these categories has its own water quality standards and its own management characteristics.
The standards in the Act remain simple and few. Each category has standards for:
Dissolved oxygen
Bacteria
Aquatic life
For standards relative to bacteria in Category A, E. coli has to be in its natural state, in Category B, E. coli must be inferior to 200 per 100ml; and in Category C, E coli must be inferior to 400 per 100ml.