Lower water levels prompt IJC public meetings

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Lower water levels prompt IJC public meetings
Low water levels. Photo from the Morrisburg Dock showing the extreme-low water levels on Lake St. Lawrence along the Morrisburg Waterfront (The Leader/Blancher photo) PHILLIP BLANCHER

ONTARIO – Low water levels on Lake Ontario and along the upper St. Lawrence River have prompted a cut in the amount of water being released through the power dam in Cornwall.

Additionally, local conservation authorities, South Nation Conservation and the Raisin Region Conservation Authority, have both issued drought warnings due to the lack of rain in the past month.

This has prompted the International Joint Commission’s International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels from Lake St. Francis to Lake Ontario, to hold two public meetings. The first is on June 15, the second on June 17.

In a statement, the ILOSLR said that the meetings are to discuss the current conditions on that section of waterway.

“We have been hearing from concerned property owners, business owners, and recreational users regarding the current below average water levels throughout the system.”

The ILOSLR board will present information about the dry weather conditions and forecasts for the summer. The board will also hear specific concerns from those attending the virtual meeting sessions.

Since the adoption of the controversial Plan 2014 water management plan, water conditions on Lake Ontario, the upper St. Lawrence River, Lake St. Lawrence and to a lesser extent Lake St. Francis have fluctuated considerably.

In 2017 and 2019, there were record-setting high water levels, but in 2018 there were record low-water levels, especially on Lake St. Lawrence. That lake was artificially created when the St. Lawrence Seaway project created a “power pool” for supplying water to the Moses-Saunders power dam in Cornwall.

Low water levels also have an impact on commercial ship traffic travelling through the Seaway. Levels in 2018 prompted safety warnings and slowdowns for vessels going into the fall of that year.

Anyone can register to attend the virtual meetings, which will be held between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. To register online, visit https://tinyurl.com/ijcregistration

This story was originally written for, and appeared in, The Morrisburg Leader.

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