Columbia River Treaty Perspectives

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by Douglas R. Forrest, BC Hydro, Vancouver, BC, Canada,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Power '87

Abstract: The Columbia River Treaty was signed in 1961 and ratified by the governments of Canada and the United States in 1964. The Treaty required British Columbia to construct three large storage dams at Duncan Lake, Arrow Lakes and Mica Creek and to operate these three projects to increase power generation and flood control in the Columbia River basin in Canada and the United States. One-half of the power and flood control benefits in the lower Columbia River in the United States accrued to Canada. The United States agreed to purchase the Canadian portion of the increased power generation for a period of 30 years. At the present time there is significant electricity surplus in the United States Pacific Northwest and in British Columbia. The marketing of this surplus can create conflicting pressures on the operation of Canadian Treaty storage. Further challenges in the future may impact on the operation of the Treaty projects, including utilization of the downstream power benefits which become available to British Columbia starting in 1998 and the possibility of increased coordinated operation of the Canadian Treaty projects with the Pacific Northwest power system.

Subject Headings: Rivers and streams | Electric power | International waters | Agreements and treaties | Marketing | Electrical systems | Floods | Lakes | Basins | North America | United States | Canada | British Columbia | Pacific Northwest

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