Canada and U.S. prepare to talk water

Canada and the United States are getting ready to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty (CRT).

  • May. 21, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Canada and the United States are getting ready to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty (CRT).

The treaty was signed in 1964, with the first opportunity to renegotiate the treaty in 2024.

If Canada intends to renegotiate the treaty they must give the U.S. 10 years notice, which means they would have to give notice in 2014.

The Columbia Basin Trust is facilitating the formation of local government community committees, and Regional District of East Kootenay Area A director Mike Sosnowski volunteered to be part of it.

“I volunteered out of pure interest,” said Sosnowski. “I hear snippits of what was negotiated in the 60s, and it may have seemed irrelevant then but as times have changed it has become relevant.”

Even though there is concern that the U.S. is further ahead in the preparations for a renegotiation process, Sosnowski said that he thinks they just got started sooner.

“It’s not that they are necessarily ahead of the ball, it’s just that they have already had several public engagements, and are beginning to meet with their stakeholders,” he said.

Under the CRT, Canada agreed to build three storage dams: the Keenleyside, the Duncan and the Mica.

The dams were built to help the U.S. with their efforts in flood control and power generation.

In return for the storage of water, Canada receives half of the additional power generated by the U.S. power plants on the Columbia River.

The local committee has its first telephone conference on June 8.

For more information on the Columbia River Treaty visit the Columbia Basin Trust website at

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