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The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on July 14, 2015. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The construction site of the hydroelectric facility at Muskrat Falls, Newfoundland and Labrador is seen on July 14, 2015. (Andrew Vaughan/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Flooding at Muskrat Falls underway, Newfoundland premier says Add to ...

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador confirms that flooding of a reservoir at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric site is underway.

Premier Dwight Ball says initial flooding will bring the river to springtime levels, similar to where “Mother Nature” raises waters during the season.

Three aboriginal governments issued a joint statement Saturday after consulting with engineers about plans for initial flooding.

The Nunatsiavut Government, NunatuKavut Community Council, and the Innu Nation agreed that initial flooding is necessary but say it is possible to keep water levels at around 23 metres above sea level.

The aboriginal leaders urged the province to prioritize health concerns related to methylmercury contamination in its management of multibillion-dollar hydro project.

According to the release, water levels in the river have historically risen between 22.5 and 25 metres in the spring.

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