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2017 & 2019 High Water Events

Since the 2017 high water event and more recently in 2019, the International Joint Commission and its International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) have heard, and seen first-hand the devastating impacts that extreme water level conditions have had. Those affected include citizens and communities, shoreline properties and local economies around Lake Ontario, the surroundings sectors, and on the upper and lower St. Lawrence River. The Board has taken extraordinary measures to try to alleviate impacts from these exceptional conditions, while considering the consequences for all activity sectors along the Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River system. 

While the conditions of both 2017 and 2019 were exceptional in many ways, similar high water events have occurred throughout the history of Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River regulation and have the potential to occur again in the future. As such, the purpose of this page is to provide a collection of accurate information related to the causes of the high water levels, as well as actions taken by the Board in attempts to address these conditions through regulation of outflows.  The intent is to inform shoreline residents, businesses and communities of the capacity and limitations of outflow regulation to affect conditions so that we can work collectively to identify and assess potential solutions to better prepare for the possibility of extreme conditions and high water events in the future. 

2019 High Water - Questions and Answers

This page can be viewed at the link above and includes a downloadable, printer-friendly PDF. The topics include:

May 2019 St. Lawrence River at Lake Saint-Pierre (left, source: Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority) and Lake Ontario at Brighton (right, source: Transport Canada)
Left: St. Lawrence River at Lake Saint-Pierre, Quebec, 4 May 2019 (source: Transport Canada) and Right: Lake Ontario at Brighton, Ontario, 29 May 2019 (source: Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority)

2017 High Water - Questions and Answers

This page can be viewed at the link above and includes a downloadable, printer-friendly PDF. The topics include:

 

Related Reports

 

Observed Conditions & Regulated Outflows in 2017 (ILOSLRB, 2018)
Observed Conditions & Regulated Outflows in 2017 (ILOSLRB, 2018)

 

 

 

Summary of 2017 Great Lakes Basin Conditions and Water Level Impacts to Support Ongoing Regulation Plan Evaluation (GLAM Committee, 2018)
Summary of 2017 Great Lakes Basin Conditions and Water Level Impacts to Support Ongoing Regulation Plan Evaluation (GLAM Committee, 2018)

 

 

 

Comparison of Regulation Plans Under Extremely Wet Conditions (ILOSLRB, 2019)
Comparison of Regulation Plans Under Extremely Wet Conditions (ILOSLRB, 2019)

 

 

 

2017 High Water Levels: A Summary of Reported Impacts by Shoreline Property Owners on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River (GLAM Committee, 2019)
2017 High Water Levels: A Summary of Reported Impacts by Shoreline Property Owners on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River (GLAM Committee, 2019)

 

 

 

Videos

This is a video of the presentation given during the 2019 IJC webinar on high water levels on Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River, presented by IJC Co-Chair Jane Corwin and Tony David of the ILOSLRB.

 

This video was created by the ILOSLRB in 2018 to illustrate the causes of the 2017 Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River flood.

Upstream flooding in Beattie Beach, Greece, New York State, USA
Linked to this image is a video of upstream flooding – Beattie Beach, Greece, New York State, USA, published 28 May, 2019. Source: 13abc WHAM.
Downstream flooding in Lanaudière, Quebec, Canada, published 23 April, 2019. Source: TVA Nouvelles.
Linked to this image is a video of downstream flooding – Lanaudière, Quebec, Canada, published 23 April, 2019. Source: TVA Nouvelles.