Columbia River Treaty

The Columbia River Treaty (CRT) is a trans-boundary water management agreement between Canada and the US signed in 1961 and ratified in 1964. The Treaty optimizes flood management and power generation, requiring coordinated operations of reservoirs and water flows for the Columbia River and Kootenay River on both sides of the border. The Columbia River Treaty has no specified end date but Canada or the US can terminate as early as September 2024 with a 10-year notice. No termination notice has been given but in May 2018 Canada and the US launched  negotiations to ‘modernize’ the treaty.


Under the CRT, Canada was required to build and operate three dams in the higher elevation reaches of the Basin.

  • 1987 Duncan Dam (Revelstoke)
  • 1968 Hugh Keenlyside Dam (Arrow Lakes Reservoirs)
  • 1973 Mica Dam (Kinbasket Reservoir)

The CRT also allowed the US to construct Libby Dam in Montana. Its Reservoir the Koocanusa extends 68 kilometers into Canada. (operated by US entities)


On May 19,2022, Kenpesq (Shuswap Indian Band) gathered at the headwaters of the Columbia River near Invermere, BC where 3 nations participated in a Salmon fry release ceremony. Watch via the link below.



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