Agreement Respecting Ottawa River Basin Regulation
In 1983, Canada, Quebec and Ontario concluded the Agreement on Compliance with the Ottawa River Board. During his tenure, a body was established that designed and recommended regulatory criteria for the basin`s 13 major reservoirs, taking into account flood protection, hydroelectric generation and other interests. With the support of a regulatory committee and a secretariat, the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board works to ensure that integrated reservoir management along the Ottawa River and its tributaries, as well as along its canals in the Montreal area, provides flood protection. As in other years, dam operators have taken flood reduction measures in anticipation of spring runoff. This usually involves emptying the main reservoirs during the winter period, with the reservoirs being at their lowest level before the snow melt begins in the spring. This available storage volume is then used during spring melting to reduce downstream flows. Throughout the cool spring of 2019, the Regulatory Committee, comprised of representatives of the Ottawa Basin River`s major dam managers, held daily conference calls to implement integrated system management, which analyzes observed and projected hydrological conditions and develops a regulatory strategy to use the available storage volume for maximum flood reduction. It is estimated that optimal water storage in reservoirs during this year`s floods reduced peak water levels along the main trunk of the river by at least 40 cm at all sites. The Committee supported a series of initiatives to inform the public about the regulation of the Ottawa River.
The secretariat, which is located at ECCC, maintains a website and a recorded message on the free telephone services in English and French, both of which provide information on water levels and flows at different locations in the basin. In 2016, the Secretariat recorded 56,100 page views on its website during the Freshet period (March-June), which is higher than the previous year. The total number of unique users of the site was 9790. This increase is mainly due to the unusual formation of frazil iceFootnote 7 in January and the significant volume of water in the freshet. To support the AAF, ECCC monitors currents and weather conditions on streams to the east and water quality at provincial borders (see Figure 8). The PPWB calculates eligible rivers on a watercourse as if that flow had never been influenced by human activities. The PPWB also calculates annual excursions or exceedances and compliance with maa water quality objectives. The planning committee was formed to ensure integrated river management of the 13 major reservoirs in the Ottawa River Basin to minimize the effects of floods and droughts along the Ottawa River and in the Montreal area, while maintaining beneficial water use within the watershed. As part of the 1983 agreement, governments also established two other bodies that sign the planning committee, namely the Ottawa River Regulatory Committee (the Regulatory Committee) and the Ottawa River Regulatory Secretariat (the Secretariat), which is hosted by ECCC.
Integrated management of the main reservoirs is ensured throughout the year; However, it is in the spring or other floods that this management approach has the most obvious benefits. The LWCB maintains a full-time secretariat that monitors basin conditions, provides information and analysis, and recommends specific control strategies or exits. It also implements the operational strategy of the LWCB, carries out studies and maintains communication with users of the basin.. . . .