Columbia River Treaty issues on tap at meeting

An information session on a river treaty between Canada and the United States is being held in Trail to inform the public about potentially massive impacts on the Columbia Basin.

  • Oct. 18, 2011 10:00 a.m.

An information session on a 47-year-old river treaty between Canada and the United States is being held in Trail to inform the public about potentially massive impacts on the Columbia Basin.

The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) was enacted in 1964 between Canada and our southern neighbor. The treaty was designed to coordinate flood control between the two countries allowing hydroelectric energy on both sides of the border.

The treaty will go up for renewal in 2024 but a notification of planned changes has to given in 2014 by either country. Both countries are entitled to make changes to the treaty or terminate it entirely.

Columbia Basin Trust and the City of Trail are putting on an information session about the issues of the treaty Thursday at the Riverbelle. Open house begins at 2 p.m. with a free BBQ between 6-7 p.m. The presentation will run from 7-9 p.m. A session will be held in Castlegar on Wednesday at the recreation centre with the same time schedule.

The information session will provide insight into the treaty and the various changes that might happen to it in the future. Results of the treaty being revised or scrapped would have effects across the Columbia Basin.

Since the treaty was put in place the Mica, Duncan and Hugh Keenleyside dams have been constructed in B.C. The U.S. constructed the Libby Dam in Montana. A revision of the treaty could mean new regulations on water flow through these dams.

Experts on the CRT and the Columbia Basin will be on-hand to discuss the issues concerning the treaty and the approaching 2014 deadline. Neither Canada or the U.S. has commented on potential changes to the treaty, but the potential for change is enough to encourage community participation and education on the subject.