Central Planning of Water Levels

Source: EconLog
by David Henderson

“I have a cottage at Minaki, Ontario, which is down the Winnipeg River from the Lake of the Woods. Under a treaty between Canada and the United States, the Lake of the Woods can’t go above a certain level. The reason is that part of the Lake of the Woods is in Canada and part is in the United States. So when it gets close to that level, the government opens the dam at the north end of the lake …. What would be a reasonable way to both comply with the treaty and look out for the people downstream? It would be to see what’s happening with snowfall in the winter and, on that basis, predict what will happen to runoff. And then if the estimate is that the spring runoff will be high, start releasing early and not wait until May. But here’s what they’re doing.” (05/05/22)