International board keeping St. Lawrence water level up at Montreal with water from Lake Ontario
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 2:33 pm

The International St. Lawrence River Board of Control will continue to exceed recommended flows from Lake Ontario to keep the river level up around Montreal.

The board said it recently reviewed conditions in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River system and “has decided to continue to moderately over-discharge relative to plan-specified flows when necessary to maintain adequate minimum water levels in the Montreal area.”

When the problem eases, the board says it will reduce outflow to restore water to Lake Ontario.

Levels on Lake Ontario are the lowest for this time of the year since 1964. Levels on Lake St. Lawrence are at 73.11 m (239.86 ft), 2 cm (0.8 in) above average for this time of the year. The level at the Port of Montreal on October 17 was 5.48 m (17.98 ft), 80 cm (31.5 in) below average. The average September level in Montreal was a new record low, in large part because outflows from the Ottawa River have also been at record low values, due to the persistent drought conditions in the region.

If the drought conditions may persist into next summer, that will severely restrict what the board can do.