ACT’s Executive Director Deb Harford and Senior Advisor and water expert Bob Sandford were panelists at this recent event:

The Columbia River Treaty: Seeking Solutions to Emerging Challenges

This panel discussion on the Columbia River Treaty was moderated by Dr. Zafar Adeel, Executive Director of the Pacific Water Research Centre at SFU.

Panelists included:

Eileen Pearkes, Author, A River Captured: The Columbia River Treaty and Catastraphic Change

Deborah Harford, Executive Director of ACT (the Adaptation to Climate Change Team) and Coordinator of Climate Change Initiatives, Pacific Water Research Centre, SFU; Co-Author, The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer

Bob Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water and Climate Change Security, United Nations University and Co-Author, The Columbia River Treaty: A Primer

Kelvin Ketchum, retired BC Hydro, Columbia River Treaty and reservoirs operations veteran

The ratification of the Columbia River Treaty in 1964 was a landmark event, with significant implications for hydropower generation and flood protection. One of the largest transboundary international water treaties in the world, it has met with considerable success over the decades in addressing these issues from Canadian and American perspectives.

However, implementation of Treaty dams and associated operations created negative impacts for BC Basin residents, farmers and First Nations that continue today, while emerging challenges pertaining to ecosystem impacts, sustainability of fish habitats, and changing climate and hydrological patterns are gaining prominence for river basin management around the world. Equally, issues of equity and social justice have a different connotationtoday than was the case in 1964.

The panelists explored these emerging challenges and issues, and discussed how BC, Canada and the US can utilize the Columbia River Treaty or modifications to it as a way of responding to these emerging concerns. The panelists – who represent a broad range of professional and social perspectives – also engaged with the highly engaged and well informed audience in an interactive dialogue.

Please click on the link to access a live streamed recording of the event: