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A new report says that Quebec could bring in up to C$9.5 billion ($8.5 billion) a year by reversing the flow of three rivers to generate power from as many as 25 dams and export water to the United States.
The Montreal Economic Institute said the proposed project could cost about C$15 billion ($13.4 billion) and could be completed by 2022.
Diverting seasonal floodwaters could support 25 more hydroelectric plants and dams along the Ottawa River, generating electricity worth C$2 billion ($1.8 billion) a year, according to the report.
The report, compiled by former hydroelectric power engineer Pierre Gingras, suggests that Quebec could divert floodwaters from the rivers, pump it further north and let it flow south through the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence.
Environmental groups said the project could damage surrounding marshes and goes against legislation forbidding the bulk export of Canadian water from any of the country’s five major basins. The report said the proposed diversion would only have a small impact on the environment.