Nelson author and cultural historian Eileen Delehanty Pearkes stopped by Kootenay Morning on August 19 to give listeners an update on the ongoing Columbia River Treaty negotiations.

The Columbia River is among the most controlled river systems in the world and three storage dams north of the border control the flow of water south of the border. That controlled reservoir water helps ensure constant hydro-electric power generation and flood control in the American Desert. It also helps support a $5 billion USD agricultural industry in Washington State.

Pearkes told KCR that American negotiators are beginning to understand the cards the Canadians hold in the ongoing negotiations.

While only 15 per cent of the River’s total distance is north of the border, water from the Canadian mountains that falls in the spring freshet accounts for 40 to 50 per cent of its total volume.

“My feeling is that there is a slowly dawning realization of the american negotiators of the many cards that Canada holds in this poker game … Canada is holding an important card and that is that 40 per cent of the river volume comes out of the Columbia Mountains,” Pearkes told KCR. “And in climate change years that 40 per cent share goes all the way up to 50, or even bumps above 50.”

You can hear the entire interview here: