IJC says it will continue higher outflows through June
The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board announced on Friday it will continue high outflows through June to reduce the risk of high water levels in 2020.
Water levels remain high across the Great Lakes, and are forecast to continue to be high through at least the winter, the IJC said.
Whether they remain high next spring will primarily depend on weather and water supplies. Lake Ontario is the only Great Lake that has a chance of getting near or returning to its long-term average by spring 2020, the IJC said.
This possibility is directly related to the influence that water regulation can have on water levels if the conditions to accommodate high flows in the St. Lawrence River occur.
Forecasts indicate that Plan 2014 outflows will be very high and at or near maximum values for several months. The IJC’s decided to allow the board to further increase outflows when opportunities arise considering the impacts that these flow increases will have on other interests of the system.
These opportunities are expected to remove a small amount of additional water from Lake Ontario to reduce the risk of high water in 2020. The board stresses that while an outflow strategy can influence water levels, the main driver is weather, especially when wet conditions are as extreme as they were in 2017 and 2019.