Ottawa River flooding a 'natural disaster' and not mismanagement, regulator says

By Laurie Fagan, CBC News Ottawa, May 17, 2019

Devastating flooding that's destroyed and damaged homes along a huge stretch of the Ottawa River is a "natural disaster" and not caused by hydroelectric companies mismanaging the dams, insists the agency that oversees the river.

Some 4,000 people have signed a Facebook petition calling for an "independent public inquiry" into possible dam mismanagement during the second major flood on the river in two years.

In the Outaouais community of Mansfield-et-Pontefract, Que., council has passed a motion calling for an inquiry into whether reservoirs and dams along the Ottawa River are being used properly to prevent flooding.

(...)Lalonde said photos taken at Deux-Rivières only show the wide flat river banks and that the river, which isn't visible in the photos, is flowing at a very high rate.

"It's a perception problem, and not a technical one," she said. "It's not a dry river there."

Ottawa Riverkeeper executive director Patrick Nadeau said he agrees with that assessment.

"A lot of fingers have been pointed at dam operators, but the water coming down the river is unprecedented," he said. "They are doing what they can."

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