March 30, 2010
The following statement was given today in the House of Assembly by the
Kathy Dunderdale, Minister of Natural Resources:
Water Management Agreement Established for the Churchill River
I rise today to inform the House of a recent ruling by the Public
Utilities Board that has resulted in the establishment of a water
management agreement on the Churchill River between Nalcor Energy and
the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation. The conclusion of this
agreement is another step toward sanction of the Lower Churchill
Our government moved to regulate the coordination of water management
on provincial rivers in 2007. This was accomplished through amendments
to the Electrical Power Control Act to provide the Public
Utilities Board, commonly referred to as the PUB, with the authority to
regulate the coordination of water management agreements.
These amendments provide certainty over the coordination of water
flow when two or more operators are on the same river. The Water
Management Regulations that accompanied the amendments provide direction
to the PUB for the review or establishment of water management
With that action taken, Nalcor and CF(L)Co officials began
discussions to reach a water management agreement on the Churchill
River. However, the proposed agreement that was subsequently reached was
rejected by the CF(L)Co Board of Directors. It is our understanding that
none of the Hydro Quebec directors on the CF(L)Co board supported the
agreement, which was a necessary requirement.
As a result, Nalcor Energy applied to the PUB to establish the terms
of a water management agreement based on the proposed agreement rejected
by the CF(L)Co Board of Directors. The process provided CF(L)Co with 30
days to make its submission to the PUB.
It is noteworthy that both CF(L)Co and Hydro Quebec, in separate
submissions to the PUB, supported the version of the agreement filed by
Nalcor Energy. Upon review, the PUB established this agreement as the
water management agreement to be binding upon Nalcor and CF(L)Co.
I also want to note for the House another important part of the PUB
ruling. Two Quebec Innu groups had filed objections to the water
management agreement based on asserted Aboriginal rights. In its ruling,
the PUB concluded that this agreement does not have an adverse impact on
Aboriginal rights or title and that the project operating regime and
Aboriginal consultation are already part of the ongoing environmental
The conclusion of this agreement would not have occurred without the
decisive action by this government to regulate the coordination of water
management agreements in this province. The rivers in this province
belong to the people and it is our responsibility to maintain control
over our water resource and ensure it is regulated in a way that
optimizes the benefits to the province.
2010 03 30 1:50 p.m.