IJC increasing Lake Ontario outflows to highest recorded rate

Jun 12, 2019
Originally published on June 12, 2019 4:24 pm

In response to record high water levels, the IJC's International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board is letting the maximum amount of water out of the lake that has ever been recorded.

Frank Bevaqua, the public information officer at the IJC, says this increase is possible because the water is above its high water trigger level specified under the lake management plan, and because downstream conditions have improved. Less water is flowing from the Ottawa River into the Upper Saint Lawrence.

"As conditions improve, the outflows from Lake Ontario have been ratched up accordingly."

Bevaqua says because this is the highest recorded maximum outflow, they don't know what the physical impacts on the St. Lawrence River would be if they increase outflows any more. There are still high inflows coming in from Lake Erie, but he says they are hopeful this increase will provide relief for people living along the southern shore of the lake.

The Board has increased outflows almost daily. They are currently at 10,400 meters per second, or 367,300 feet per second. 

This decision comes after US Commissioner Jane Corwin called for a meeting to discuss Plan 2014, the current and controversial lake level management plan. Bevaqua says they will be holding a meeting to discuss "the performance of Plan 2014 and essentially any ideas on what might be improved," though it hasn't been scheduled yet.

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