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Quebec could make $9.5B a year selling water to U.S.: report


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Quebec could make $9.5B a year selling water to U.S.: report


By NINA LEX, ReutersJuly 16, 2009 3:50 PM


Quebec could raise as much as $9.5 billion a year by reversing the flow of three northern rivers to generate power and export water to the United States, according to a report made public yesterday.


The Montreal Economic Institute said Quebec could divert floodwaters from the three rivers in the spring, pumping the excess water higher, and then letting it flow south through the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence.


The rivers - the Broadback, Waswanipi and Bell - currently flow into James Bay and then into Hudson Bay.


The report said that diverting the floodwater from north to south would boost levels on the St. Lawrence River and let U.S. and Canadian authorities increase their use of freshwater from the Great Lakes without any risk to St. Lawrence - a major international seaway.


"The revenue generated by exporting freshwater would be the result of complex negotiations between state, provincial and federal governments," said the report, compiled by former hydroelectric power engineer Pierre Gingras.


"Whatever the outcome of negotiations, and given the probable increase in the value of water in the coming years, this revenue from the sale of water would contribute significantly to the financial health of the Quebec government and the general prosperity of Quebecers."


The idea of bulk water exports from Canada has always been controversial, for political, environmental and security reasons.


But Gingras said the scheme could net the province about $7.5 billion a year - assuming that the extra water supplied some 150 million people who paid a "very reasonable" $50 a year for the water.


The project, which Gingras calls Northern Waters, would also build 25 hydroelectric plants and dams along the Ottawa River, generating electricity worth $2 billion a year.


He put the cost of the project at $15 billion and said it could be completed by 2022. "It should be a very profitable project for Quebec," he said.


But environmental group Great Lakes United said a project like Northern Waters could be devastating to the environment.


"The seasonal runoff is not surplus water. The rising and lowering of the rivers and lakes is critical to protecting the marsh which is home to so much wildlife," program director John Jackson said.


He said the project was contrary to legislation that forbids the bulk export of Canadian water from any of the five major basins, including the Hudson Bay Basin.


"There would be huge legal fights. There is no way you could win those battles," Jackson said.


The report - available at http://www.iedm.org - said the environmental impact would be relatively small because the project would only capture "seasonal surplus waters."

© Copyright © The Montreal Gazette

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I don't know why they publish these "reports"? We all know nothing this interesting will ever be built!


Gods Forbid we were to make a little money to pay down our debt and allow us to be able to afford some of our social programs!!!:rolleyes:

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Gov't can't run a business for the life of itself. Even if it does happen, it won't make much profit off of it and will eventually die. If a company was allowed to do something as evil as supply water to the thirsty, then that would work. However, most people think companies that make money are evil people who are stealing from the poor and wouldn't let this happen.

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