Governor Andrew Cuomo has demanded the international body that regulates lake levels reimburse New York state for costs associated with flood recovery, and make funds available for additional protective measures.

In a letter to the International Joint Commission, Cuomo said the state committed more than $100 million to rebuilding communities that were devastated by flooding in 2017. 

"Following the 2017 flooding, the IJC knew or should have known of the significant potential for future flooding events, but failed to exercise the forethought to protect against the devastating impacts of flooding," Cuomo said.

On June 1, the IJC reported that Lake Ontario reached a new record, surpassing 2017 levels. Dozens of homes, businesses and property have been damaged by the high waters.


On Saturday, the international body announced plans to increase outflows until 10,400 cubic meters per second is reached on June 13, 2019. The board says it will "continue to explore further increases based on conditions." 

"The IJC must immediately correct its water management protocols to avoid damage to riparian owners.  Failure to act upon these demands will result in New York taking any and all actions to compel the IJC to act, including legal action," Cuomo added. 

When IJC members toured flooded areas in Western New York in May, commissioners said despite regular criticism of Plan 2014, which outlines outflows for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, it was not the problem.

For the second time in three years, Cuomo sent resources to Lake Ontario communities dealing with significant flooding along the shoreline, and announced the Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative (REDI).