The Columbia Basin Trust is hosting an information session about the Columbia River Treaty in Nelson on November 14. This session is hosted in partnership with local governments.
“The information session will help people who live in the Canadian portion of the Columbia Basin better understand what the Treaty is, how it works and what considerations exist for the future,” said Neil Muth, Trust president and CEO.
The meeting takes place at the Nelson District Rod and Gun Club at 801 Railway Street. The open house portion is between 2 and 7 p.m., there is a free dinner between 6 and 7 p.m. and a presentation between 7 and 9 p.m.
The Treaty is an international agreement between Canada and the United States to coordinate flood control and optimize hydroelectric power generation on both sides of the border. Under the 1964 treaty, three dams were constructed in Canada, including Mica, Duncan and Hugh Keenleyside. A fourth dam, Libby, was constructed in Montana. Its reservoir, the Koocanusa, extends 67 kilometres into Canada.
The treaty has no official expiry date, but has a minimum length of 60 years, which is met in September 2024. Either Canada or the United States can terminate many of the provisions of the agreement effective any time after September 2024, provided written notice is filed at least 10 years in advance (2014). While no decision has been made by either Canada or the United States on the future of the current treaty, given the importance of the issues, and the approaching date of 2014, both countries are now conducting studies and exploring future options for the Treaty.
“Our primary role with respect to the Treaty is to act as an information resource for Basin residents,” says Muth, adding that the Trust does not make decisions with respect to the treaty. “Consultation on the Treaty is a provincial responsibility.”
Working with the City of Nelson and the Regional District of Central Kootenay, the Trust is bringing experts on the treaty and international water management from across Canada to Nelson.
“Having people with this much knowledge about the current treaty come to our community is an excellent opportunity for all of us to learn more,” says Deb Kozak, chair of the Treaty Local Governments’ Committee and Nelson city councillor.
“This is a chance to talk with experts and our neighbours about something that has influenced the geography and social fabric of this region for decades,” says Hans Cunningham, Regional District of Central Kootenay.
The Trust is hosting similar sessions in other communities as well as online information sessions via the Internet. The Trust has also prepared documents, videos and other resources to help residents learn more.
Learn more about the Treaty at cbt.org/crt.