For Release August 18, 1997

Contact: Frank Bevacqua Washington, D.C. (202) 736-9024
Fabien Lengellé Ottawa, Ontario (613) 995-0088

International Joint Commission Ends Criterion (k) Operations
for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Flows

Because water supply conditions for setting Lake Ontario outflows under a special provision known as criterion (k) no longer exist, the International Joint Commission, on August 15, 1997, ended setting Lake Ontario outflows under this provision.

Criterion (k) is an extraordinary provision in the Commission's Orders of Approval for Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River regulation that is invoked when Lake Ontario water supplies exceed "supplies of the past," adjusted to take account of the diversions at Chicago, Long Lac and Ogoki. The Commission's decision was based on a recommendation by its International St. Lawrence River Board of Control and the Board's determination that water supplies to Lake Ontario no longer exceeded this threshold.

Under extremely high water supply conditions, criterion (k) changes the considerations used to set Lake Ontario outflows and gives precedence to shoreline property owners on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River from the Thousand Islands to past Montreal.

The Board will now be following Regulation Plan 1958-D and the discretionary authority it has been given to set Lake Ontario outflows and achieve the regulation objectives in the Commission's Orders of Approval.

In September 1996, the Board decided to increase outflows from Lake Ontario above those called for by the Regulation Plan 1958-D when this could be accomplished without causing adverse impacts to other interests. In January, the Commission directed that outflows be set under criterion (k). At present, Lake Ontario is 65 centimetres (2.1 feet) lower than it would have been under strict application of the regulation plan. The Commission and its Board will continue to monitor conditions on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The International Joint Commission was created under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 to help prevent and resolve disputes over the use of waters along the Canada-United States boundary. Its responsibilities include approving certain projects that would change water levels on the other side of the boundary, such as the international hydropower project at Massena, New York and Cornwall, Ontario. If it approves a project, the Commission's orders of approval may require that flows through the project meet certain conditions to protect interests in both countries.

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control was established by the Commission in its 1952 Order of Approval. Its main duty is to ensure that outflows from Lake Ontario meet the requirements of the Commission's Orders. The Board also develops regulation plans and conducts special studies as requested by the Commission. For more information, visit the website of the International Joint Commission at


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