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Baie-Comeau, November 23, 2016

Press Release

Hydro-Québec manages its reservoirs responsibly

Hydro-Québec is astonished by the allegations in the lawyer’s letters from the Conseil des Innus de Pessamit and refutes them. Hydro-Québec always respects the laws and regulations in effect.

Manicouagan reservoir: Management compliant with regulations
The level of the Manicouagan reservoir is raised in line with permitted operating levels. It will have a limited impact on mercury, greenhouse gases (GHG) and wildlife, because it is a relatively small area of the reservoir. Manicouagan-5 reservoir has been in existence for over 50 years and its impoundment stopped having any environmental impact a long time ago. More specifically, according to short-term projections, the level of the Manicouagan reservoir has already peaked for the year, because the spring flood is over. This level will remain below the maximum allowed.

As far as GHG emissions are concerned, measurements taken on the Côte-Nord confirm trends observed elsewhere in Québec, that is, an increase after impoundment, followed by a return to natural conditions within 10 years. GHG emissions at Manicouagan reservoir are now comparable to those in natural environments. Keep in mind that hydropower is recognized as the only clean, renewable energy source that can meet both baseload and peak demand.

Flow of Rivière Betsiamites: Operating parameters agreed upon with Pessamit
Hydro-Québec is astonished by the accusations being made, because it strictly controls the flow rates of the Betsiamites in keeping with the parameters agreed upon with the Conseil des Innus de Pessamit with a view to restoring the salmon in the river.

It is Hydro-Québec’s view that the fluctuations in abundance of big salmon are largely related to regional climatic factors and the community’s subsistence fishing. Accordingly, no matter what the demand for electricity, Hydro-Québec follows the same strict operational rules determining permissible flow variations and water levels that must be maintained for each of its 63 hydropower generating stations.

As to erosion of the Betsiamites riverbanks, a study of bank stability conducted from 2001 to 2013 observed an overall increase in stability of the Betsiamites banks, largely thanks to the regrowth of vegetation in some erosion zones. The banks are therefore still active and dynamic, as in natural conditions.

Cooperation with the community
Hydro-Québec is surprised and disappointed by the Conseil des Innus de Pessamit’s public statement. Hydro-Québec proactively informed the rights holders and land users of the hydrological forecasts. Over the past few months, Hydro-Québec has been in touch with representatives of the Conseil des Innus de Pessamit, Manicouagan and Caniapiscau regional county municipalities, Uapishka station and Société du Plan Nord, along with the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, Ministère des Forêts et de la Faune et des Parcs and the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.

A number of vacationers have also had their questions and concerns answered by our Community Relations team. Hydro-Québec will continue to cooperate with the Community of Pessamit and to respond to the questions of concerned vacationers and cottagers.

For information :

Julie Dubé
418 294-3687


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