International Joint Commission (IJC)
More than a century of cooperation protecting shared waters

Water Levels and Flows

  " further or other uses or obstructions or diversion, whether temporary or permanent, of the boundary waters to either side of the line, affecting the natural level or flow of boundary waters on the other side of the line shall be made except by authority of the United States or the Dominion of Canada within their respective jurisdiction and with the approval, as hereinafter provided of a joint commission to be known as the International Joint Commission."

-Article III, Boundary Waters Treaty 1909     


photo sodus bay

The IJC makes decisions on applications for projects, such as dams and diversions, that affect the natural 

If the IJC approves a project, it may impose conditions on project design or operation to protect interests on either side of the boundary. The IJC may also appoint a board to monitor compliance of operational requirements, such as flows through a dam. Projects approved by the IJC include hydroelectric power projects in the Great Lakes and on the St. Lawrence River, the St. Croix River and the Columbia River. The IJC is also responsible for maintaining emergency water levels in the Lake of the Woods basin and for apportioning water among various uses in the Souris River, St. Mary River and Milk River basins.level and flow of water across the boundary. Changing water levels can affect drinking water intakes, commercial shipping, hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, shoreline property, recreation, fisheries, wildlife, wetlands and other interests.

Proposed projects or actions with the potential to impact levels and flows across international waters between the United States and Canada may be considered by the IJC.  For more information see the IJC guide to applications.

For information on the Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes please click here.

Water Levels and Flows Boards:

      Columbia River Board of Control
       Kootenay Lake Board of Control
      Osoyoos Lake Board of Control
       Accredited Officers for the St. Mary - Milk Rivers
       Souris River Board
      Red River Board
      International Lake of the Woods Board of Control
       Lake Superior Board of Control
       Niagara Board of Control
      Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board
       Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board
      St. Croix River Watershed Board