|IJC: New Approach, New Regulations for Water Management|
|Monday, 20 February 2012 15:25|
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is developing a potential new approach for managing water levels and flows in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system. The system's current water regulation plan has become outdated. It is unable to deal with future conditions and has hurt the region's ecosystem. The IJC's proposed approach attempts to balance the region's many interests, and ensure it has a water regulation system that can address current and future challenges.
The new approach uses state-of-the-art analytical techniques and improved data to address the challenges of today and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow. It includes a modern regulation plan and an adaptive management strategy based on a new generation of data and tools. The new approach will also include new policies, such as an Order of Approval and Deviations Policy, which are currently being drafted for public review. Advances in understanding form the basis for the new approach, which seeks to restore greater balance to the region's regulation of water levels and flows. Studies show that modest changes in water level variability on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River would help restore the region's wetlands and contribute significantly to a healthier lake and river. At the same time, other basin interests would retain most of the benefits they now receive in the form of reduced extreme high and low water levels. Expected results and any unforeseen consequences would be systematically monitored and evaluated under the adaptive management strategy.
We know we must prepare for conditions that are wetter and drier than those the current approach was based on. Plan Bv7, the IJC's proposed regulation plan, is designed to perform under more realistic water supplies, including those experienced since the 1950s and statistically-generated water supply scenarios that are more extreme, but still considered to be likely under the current climate regime. The proposed plan also incorporates practical experience gained from 50 years of operation under many different water supply and ice conditions. For more information, visit the International Joint Commission's website.