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Lake of the Woods Outflow Reductions affecting the Winnipeg River

Posted on: November 15, 2019  |  

Here is the latest update from the Lake of the Woods Secretariat

On November 14, the LWCB held a Regulation Consultation call with invitations to Grand Council Treaty #3, Specific Interest Group Representatives (including the Lake of the Woods District Assoc.), and Resource Agencies to review regulation of Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods under the exceptional high flows this fall.

Further to notices in October, the LWCB has scheduled the following reductions in outflow as freeze-up is underway along areas of the Winnipeg River. The aim is to reach a target outflow of 800 m³/s by the end of November and to maintain outflow close to this for the winter. This flow rate, which is high for winter, is projected to be necessary to create storage room in Lake of the Woods for the spring melt at the end of March into April. Failure to reduce the level of the lake by the end of March increases the risk of high lake levels during the spring and very high river levels and flows before ice is off the river.

The first of the planned outflow decreases is scheduled for Friday, November 15, a reduction from the currently estimated outflow of 1050 m³/s down to 1000 m³/s. The Winnipeg River level is expected to decline as follows in response to the November 15 flow change:

Below Norman Dam: 18 cm (7 in)
Above Kimberly Rapids: 15 cm (6 in)
Winnipeg River Marina: 15 cm (6 in)
Near Locke Bay: 14 cm (5.5 in)
Above Myrtle Rapids: 14 cm (5.5 in)
Above the Dalles: 14 cm (5.5 in)
Above Throat Rapids: 14 cm (5.5 in)
Minaki: 11 cm (4 in)

Additional outflow reductions are scheduled as follows:

Monday, November 18: Reduction from 1000 to 950 m³/s
Friday, November 22: Reduction from 950 to 900 m³/s
Monday, November 25: Reduction from 900 to 850 m³/s
Friday, November 29: Reduction from 850 to 800 m³/s

The river level below Norman Dam is expected to fall by 1.25 m (4 feet) from today’s level once all of these flow decreases are completed, while the level at Minaki is expected to fall by 0.9 m (3 feet) compared to today’s level. Locations between Norman and Minaki will fall between these amounts.

The Winnipeg River level in the Whiteshell will continue to fall as these flow changes and a reduction in Lac Seul outflow progress downstream. Later today, Manitoba Hydro is expected to provide a level forecast for the Winnipeg River through the Whiteshell over the next week. It will be posted to the LWCB’s Notice Board http://www.lwcb.ca/noticeboard.html.

The high flows along the Winnipeg River and English River this winter will create potentially dangerous currents and unsafe ice conditions, including in some areas that normally have a stable ice cover. The Board urges caution when on or near the Winnipeg and English Rivers. Areas of high current in Lake of the Woods, particularly in the Kenora area near the outlet channels, will also have increased risk to ice safety.

Lake of the Woods Secretariat
secretariat@lwcb.ca
800-661-5922

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