On Aug. 10 and 11, 2023, Canada and the United States held the 18th round of negotiations toward a modernized Columbia River Treaty.
The U.S. delegation hosted the meeting in Seattle, welcoming the Canadian negotiating team, which included representatives of the governments of Canada and B.C., and the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc and Syilx Okanagan Nations.
Negotiators discussed various aspects of the U.S. proposal that was delivered a few weeks earlier, with Canada continuing to advocate for increased domestic flexibility in treaty dam operations to enhance Indigenous cultural values, ecosystems and socioeconomic interests, updated flood control provisions and hydroelectric benefits. Also discussed was finding common ground on bilateral treaty ecosystem provisions and efforts to reintroduce salmon into the upper Columbia River.
The Seattle round was a constructive session that advanced the negotiators’ thinking on the challenges and opportunities they face in integrating Canada and the United States’ respective and mutual water-management objectives. Negotiators saw the two-day session as useful in developing a path forward toward an agreement-in-principle on a modernized treaty that meets both countries’ interests.
In the coming weeks, Canada will provide U.S. negotiators with their response to the latest American proposal. The date and location of the next round of negotiations have not been confirmed.
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