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The ability to store water in reservoirs behind dams means water can be released when it’s needed for fisheries, flood control, hydroelectricity, irrigation, recreation and transportation. Releasing water to meet these needs influences water levels throughout the year and explains why water levels change frequently.
|Arrow Lakes (Hugh Keenleyside Dam)||12m (39 feet)|
|Duncan (Duncan Dam)||30m (98 feet)|
|Kinbasket (Mica Dam)||30m (98 feet)|
|Koocanusa (Libby Dam)||25m (82 feet)|
The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) is an international agreement between Canada and the U.S. for the joint development, regulation and management of the Columbia River in order to coordinate flood control and optimize electrical energy production on both sides of the border.
The CRT has no official expiry date, but has a minimum length of 60 years, which is met in September 2024. It is possible that one or both countries may wish to renegotiate parts or all of the CRT, or terminate it entirely.
For more information about the Columbia River Treaty visit thebasin.cbt.org/columbia-river-treaty/
Many dams in the U.S. have fish ladders that enable fish to swim upstream, plus screens or bypass systems, so fish swimming downstream avoid turbines.
In Canada, newer hydroelectric projects (Arrow Lakes Generating Station and Waneta Expansion Project) have been designed to accommodate upstream fish passage in the future.