CORNWALL, Ontario – The International Joint Commission (IJC) held a public meeting on Tuesday, June 15 to discuss water levels in Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River.
The IJC is a bi-national governing body comprised of representatives of Canada and the United States (US) which manages the water levels of Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River.
IJC U.S. Secretary Bryce Carmichael told the audience of the virtual meeting that the organization was dealing with drought conditions throughout the region this season.
According to information presented by Carmichael, Lake Ontario has seen a rainfall deficit so far this year of between 10mm and 100mm.
Carmichael said that the water levels of Lake Ontario have likely peaked for the season, as have the water levels of Lake Saint Lawrence, a segment of the St. Lawrence River between Morrisburg and Cornwall.
The Moses-Saunders Dam located in Cornwall is used to regulate water flows on both sides of the St. Lawrence River.
Carmichael explained that water levels will be either at or below 75mm by Labour Day and will have a significant impact on boaters.
“We understand that this is not the information you’d like to see today, but drought conditions have a much much greater impact than the limited influence that regulation can provide,” he said
One boater who said he lived on the Bay of Quinte west of Kingston said that only one of his neighbours had managed to get his boat in the water so far this year.
Carmichael said that the IJC was limited in what they could do to help boaters.
“It really comes down to what Mother Nature has given us and our hands are tied to affect water levels either way,” he said.