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Eighth Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board

A Souris Basin Study Update

Eighth Quarterly Update for the International Souris River Study Board 

April 2021 

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. 

  

STUDY NEWS 

Study Progress
The Souris Study Board has entered the home stretch of completing the final stages of the study, namely, the development of study recommendations and the writing of a final report to be submitted to the International Joint Commission (IJC) in August 2021.  The Study Board is meeting regularly to discuss the recommendations that it will submit to the IJC and governments and there is ongoing work to develop a draft of the final report. The draft final report will be shared for a public comment period in the summer. Feedback received during the public comment period will be compiled by the Study Board and will help mold the final version of the report. 

As part of the Study Board’s review of potential alternatives to the operating plan of water control structures in the Souris basin, the Board has finalized options from its final phase of review of alternatives (Phase 5) and has now completed the Plan Formulation component of the Study.  The Phase 5 options will be described in the final report. Among other pieces, the study’s analysis of climate change has recently been completed and is being summarized for inclusion in the final report. 

The Study Board recently held a virtual meeting with Indigenous Nations that have been supporting the study with ongoing input on continued collaboration on water management in the basin, and with the development of certain study recommendations. The meeting provided an update on the study’s current status and next steps leading up to its conclusion. It also provided another opportunity for input on the study’s recommendations and to discuss a path forward on collaboration on water management in the basin beyond the completion of the study. 

The Study Board also recently met virtually with its Public Advisory Group (PAG) and Resource Agency Advisory Group (RAAG) to discuss study recommendations, as well as provide an update on study status and next steps. As the Study Board prepares its draft final report, it will continue to work with its two advisory groups to solicit their input and expertise.  

Study Report Timeline 
The Study team is working towards producing its draft final report in May 2021, at which point it will be shared with Indigenous Nations, the PAG and RAAG for a review period.  The Study team will use the feedback received from these groups to adjust the draft report and recommendations before preparing a version to share more widely during the public comment period planned for this summer. A 30-day  public comment period will be carried out in July, and feedback will be compiled and analysed before the Study Board submits its final report to the IJC in August. The IJC will then review the report and may conduct additional public consultations before submitting its own report and recommendations to the US and Canadian Federal Governments in January 2022.  

Planned Future engagement 
Virtual workshops and webinars have been used to continue engagement with the PAG, RAAG, and Indigenous Peoples during COVID-19 restrictions. The Study Board plans to continue engagement with advisory groups and Indigenous Nations virtually up until the conclusion of the study. The Study Board is also preparing to host virtual public meetings in the summer to solicit feedback on the draft final report and recommendations.   

Photo of the Souris River 

Souris River Flow at Westhope

Souris River near Westhope, ND. Credit: Andrew Nelson, U.S. Geological Survey, March 24, 2021 

At the time this photo was taken, the streamflow of the Souris River near Westhope was 8.1 cubic feet (0.23 metres) per second. Flow rate is well below normal for this time of year as a result of dry conditions in the basin since fall 2020. 

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 fact sheet - Review of Artificial Drainage Impacts  

  1. PAG Mid-term Report  

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

  1. A brochure on the International Souris River Study 

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

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

 

Calendar
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. 

Web: www.ijc.org/en/srsb 

Email: srsb@ijc.org 

Follow us on Facebook using #sourisriverstudy