06/22/2015 04:46 EDT | Updated 06/22/2016 05:59 EDT

Prairie provinces update their guidelines for water quality in a dozen rivers

WINNIPEG - The three Prairie provinces and the federal government have agreed on updated water quality guidelines for a dozen interprovincial rivers in the region.

The guidelines of the Prairie Provinces Water Board, which cover levels of iron, fecal coliform and other items, have been in place since the early 1990's.

Mark Lee, a manager with Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship, says the update is focused largely on items that are contained in modern pesticides.

The water board is aimed at allowing the Prairie provinces to resolve disputes with their upstream neighbours if they suspect harmful substances are making their way into the river systems.

Lee says the agreement requires a province responsible for the harm to take measures to address it and reduce levels to below the guidelines, which can vary from river to river.