Second Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board

September 2019

Welcome to the news bulletin from the International Souris River Study Board. The Study Board looks forward to keeping you informed of its progress as we investigate flooding, water supply and other water related concerns in the Souris River Basin. Learn more about our mandate.

Bruce Davison and Gregg Wiche

Canadian and US Study Managers


Exercise your Social Muscle

Please forward this bulletin to people who are interested in flood control, water supply and other water related issues in the basin, and encourage them to sign up to receive news and updates from the Study Board in their inbox.

Moose Mountain Creek near Saskatchewan Highway 9
Moose Mountain Creek near Saskatchewan Highway 9. Photo taken by: Mark Lee



Study Timeline

The Study team has received a one-year extension to the timeline, with the final report now due in February 2021 rather than February 2020. This will allow the team to incorporate feedback received from the Public Advisory Group (PAG), the Resource and Agency Advisory Group (RAAG), and the public into the technical work. In addition to feedback from the PAG, RAAG, and public being included in the development of alternative reservoir operating plans, feedback is also being incorporated into the alternative evaluation criteria for the study, also known as performance indicators. These performance indicators were developed according to the following categories of recreation, water supply, flood control, ecosystem health, water quality, erosion, and cultural. They will be used to compare and evaluate the alternative scenarios modeled by the Study.

Souris River Modeling

The alternative formulation has been separated into 5 Phases. The Study is currently in Phase III and transitioning into Phase IV. Phase I was setting up the model for the Souris River system. Phase II was the initial formulation of alternative building blocks developed from the PAG, RAAG, public, and Study team. Phase III was the refinement and optimization of the alternative building blocks in Phase II, and the addition of alternative building blocks that were discovered in Phase II. Phase IV involves combining the alternative building blocks into preliminary reservoir operating alternatives. Phase V is optimization of Phase IV reservoir operating alternatives, and finalization of the recommended reservoir operating alternative.

The alternative building blocks consist of potential changes to operating rules at reservoirs and control points along the river. These building blocks are each compared to the current operating conditions, also called the baseline.  Comparing the results of the alternative building block to the baseline using the performance indicators allows an assessment of the potential operating changes that affect flows and elevations along the river. This will allow the Study to gauge how each alternative building block will affect interests that have been deemed important by the PAG, RAAG, and public, in order to create an alternative operating plan.

Bottineau Public Meeting

On June 25, 2019 the ISRSB met with the public in Bottineau, North Dakota, to provide an overview of the Study. The presentation provided information on the Study objectives, work plan, and methodology. The presentation also highlighted the ways public input has helped shape elements of the study, such as the development of scenarios and performance indicators. Thanks to everyone who attended and for making the meeting a success.

July Workshop Rafferty Dam Tour.
July Workshop Rafferty Dam Tour. Photo provided by: Bruce Davison


July Workshop in Estevan

On July 30-31, 2019 the ISRSB held a workshop for the PAG in Estevan, Saskatchewan. This workshop was designed to be interactive. The goal of the

interactive format was to allow the PAG members to develop a better understanding of the system, and how operations and scenarios affect the water related conditions in the basin. This understanding will assist the PAG members to provide feedback, and to explain the study to members of the Public. Another workshop is being planned for the PAG in November 2019.


Outreach to Indigenous Peoples

It is important to the study group to take steps to engage with the First Nations, Metis, and Tribes in the U.S. and Canada that are interested in the Study. Canadian and U.S. Study Board members and staff continue to coordinate and plan a joint workshop for First Nations, Metis, and Tribes in both countries.  It is anticipated that this workshop will occur in early November at the International Peace Gardens.

Resources on the Web

The study board has resources on its website to help you become more familiar with flooding and water supply issues in the Souris River basin. Click on Library on the home page to view:

1.      A pamphlet on The 1989 International Agreement for Water Supply and Flood Control in the Souris River Basin

2.      Dams and Reservoirs in the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet

3.      The Unique Hydrology of the Souris River Basin – a fact sheet


Did you know that study board meetings and other public events are listed on our website? View these and upcoming public events under Calendar on the home page.

Stay connected. Be involved.



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