Launching Negotiations to Modernize the Columbia River Treaty Regime

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 22, 2018


The United States is pleased to announce the start of negotiations with Canada to modernize the Columbia River Treaty regime on May 29-30, 2018, in Washington, D.C. The 1964 Treaty’s flood risk and hydropower operations have provided substantial benefits to millions of people on both sides of the border. The Treaty, a worldwide model for transboundary water cooperation, has also facilitated additional benefits such as supporting the river’s ecosystem, irrigation, municipal water use, industrial use, navigation, and recreation. Modernizing the Treaty regime will ensure these benefits continue for years to come.

As the United States enters these bilateral negotiations with our Canadian counterparts, our key objectives include continued, careful management of flood risk; ensuring a reliable and economical power supply; and better addressing ecosystem concerns. Our objectives are guided by the U.S. Entity Regional Recommendation for the Future of the Columbia River Treaty after 2024, a consensus document published in 2013 after years of consultations among the Northwest’s Tribes, states, stakeholders, public, and federal agencies.

The U.S. negotiating team will be led by the U.S. Department of State and will include the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Northwestern Division (which together comprise the “U.S. Entity” that implements the Treaty in the United States); the Department of the Interior; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As negotiations proceed, the U.S. government will continue to engage regional stakeholders, Tribes, state government officials, and other interested groups. For more information regarding upcoming Town Halls open to the public, please contact ColumbiaRiverTreaty@state.gov. For press inquiries, please contact WHAPress@state.gov.