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Winnipeg River Update

Posted on: June 26, 2016  |   ,

Recent discussion with Manitoba Hydro (MH) regarding their ability to mitigate the fluctuation in lake levels from Nutimik to Lac du Bonnet  has confirmed that they already operate their damns on a “run-of-the-river” basis, and do not use the surcharge lakes to increase either the head or volume available for power generation.  This means that the fluctuation in level of these lakes is attributable to a combination of the uncontrolled tributaries and the Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB), including the attribution from Lac Seul / English River.

Given that MH already uses the run-of-the-river approach, the only additional opportunity for reducing the level fluctuation would be for Hydro to monitor the lake levels more proactively, and adjust their power output (and / or spillage rate) to stem rising lake levels as the increased flow rate works its way down the river.

The WCA’s Lake Levels Committee is working with Manitoba Hydro and the LWCB in an effort to stabilize the water level of the lakes along the river to the maximum extent feasible. The following is an email from Matt Dewolfe of LWCB with updates.

Alan Roberts,
WCA Chair, Lake Levels

 

From: DeWolfe, Matt [mailto:mdewolfe@lwcb.ca]
Sent: Friday, June 17, 2016 1:42 PM
Subject: Lake of the Woods Control Board Update

First Nations, Resource Advisors and Specific Interest Group representatives,

This morning,  heavy, widespread rainfall occurred over Lake of the Woods, the Rainy River and its tributaries and, to a lesser degree, along the Winnipeg River. Initial data shows as much as 3.5 inches (89 mm) of rainfall in 6 hours this morning (at Warroad, MN), though local amounts will vary greatly due to the track of individual storm cells.

Outflow from Lake of the Woods was increased from 450 m³/s to 550 m³/s on Friday morning. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to rise in response to this increase as follows:

Below Norman Dam                          26 cm (10 in)

Above Kimberley Rapids                    20 cm (8 in)

Winnipeg River Marina                     16 cm (6 in)

Near Locke Bay                                    16 cm (6 in)

Above Myrtle                      16 cm (6 in)

Above the Dalles                          14 cm (5 in)

Above Throat Rapids                       15 cm (6 in)

Minaki                                           Unchanged

Note that this is the minimum rise expected. Local rainfall and runoff will add to this rise and cannot be accurately forecast.

The level of the Winnipeg River in the Whiteshell region of Manitoba will see the results of this flow increase within 3-7 days. At Nutimik Lake, the level is expected to rise by 16 cm (6 in) as a result of today’s increase in outflow from Lake of the Woods. Additional rise is expected due to local rainfall along the Winnipeg River and its other tributaries.

The LWCB is closely monitoring basin conditions and expects further outflow increases in the coming days. Flows into Lake of the Woods from Rainy River had risen sharply before this rainfall, and will continue to rise with the today’s rainfall and any additional rainfall over the weekend.

Please visit the LWCB Notice Board for the latest updates, and contact the Secretariat with any questions.

Matthew DeWolfe, P.Eng.

Executive Engineer

Lake of the Woods Secretariat

Toll-Free: 1-800-661-5922 Ex 3

www.lwcb.ca

LWCB Mission: To regulate the water levels of Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, and the flows in the Winnipeg and English Rivers downstream of these lakes to their junction, for the benefit of all users and interests.

 

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Hello WCA, Here are the new items for today. It’s a short update for today.- TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay has reopened with wet spots existing on trail.Whiteshell Provincial Park: May 28, 2022 A local state of emergency has been declared for Whiteshell Provincial Park on May 20, 2022 due to rising water levels within the park. Developed areas at Betula Lake were closed on May 21, 2022. This closure area was expanded (May 24) to include Sylvia Lake, Otter Falls, Dorothy Lake, Barrier Bay and Nutimik Lake areas. No person should reside or enter into the closed area. Please visit the Manitoba Parks Website www.gov.mb.ca/sd/parks/ to see a map of the closure. This applies to all cottage subdivisions, commercial areas, campgrounds, group use, day use, recreational and picnic areas, playgrounds, trails, and beaches with within the order area. During the closure no person should reside or enter into the closure area of the park. Manitoba Hydro released information this afternoon regarding the expected continued high water flows on the Winnipeg River. Water continues to rise significantly along the lakes that make up the Winnipeg River system (Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor, and Sylvia Lakes as well as Pointe du Bois) as water moves downstream from Lake of the Woods. Water levels rise quickly in these areas due to natural restrictions along the river. Please see www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/water_levels/ to view the forecast. Manitoba Hydro is predicating an increase of water levels from the current high water over the next 10 to 14 days, as follows: • 6 inches upstream of Eight Foot Falls. • 10 inches in Nutimik Lake. • 9 inches in Dorothy Lake. • 11 inches in Margaret/Eleanor Lake. • 1 foot in Sylvia Lake. • 8 inches upstream of Silver Falls. The Winnipeg River is expected to crest between June 5-10. Rising water levels and rapidly evolving conditions pose a significant risk to public safety. Manitoba Parks continue to monitor safety and water levels inside the closure area, additional safety measures may be applied if required. Manitoba Parks has been contacting all permanent residents in the closure area. If you have not been contacted by Manitoba Parks staff to register, please call the parks line at 204-340-6769 and leave a message with your name, lot, block, subdivision, and ask to be added to the permanent residents list. You will then be called back to register. Water levels improvement are being seen in all areas south of the Winnipeg River. Falcon, West Hawk, Star, Caddy, Brereton, White, and Jessica Lakes are reporting a decrease today.Manitoba Parks staff are working in conjunction with staff from the department of Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure to monitor lake levels and adjust control structures where possible. This includes monitoring structures for blockages. Crescent Beach seawall at West Hawk is barricaded and closed. 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No landing in the closed area is allowed. Extreme caution should be used with travelling the upstream portion of the Winnipeg River (Pointe du Bois to Lamprey Falls). To minimize potential erosion caused by boat wakes, recreational motor boat restrictions are in place. Recreational motor boat traffic is prohibited from operating within 100 metres of the shoreline on: West Hawk, Falcon, Caddy, Star, Brereton, Jessica, White, Big Whiteshell, Betula, Nutimik, Dorothy, Margaret, Eleanor Lakes, and the shoreline adjacent to the Pointe du Bois subdivision in Whiteshell Provincial Park. When exiting or approaching the shoreline, boats should move directly out from land and avoid creating a wake. The following hiking trails are closed in addition to those in the park closure area: the Marsh Trail (between Falcon Lake Marina and Beach Campground) and Hunt Lake. TransCanada Trail at Penniac Bay has reopened with wet spots existing on trail. All backcountry campsites in Whiteshell Provincial park are closed due to flooding, high water conditions and frequently changing portage conditions. Campers should check the Manitoba Parks homepage for the status of campgrounds prior to coming to the park. Several campgrounds have full or partial closures. All campground in the closure area will remain closed until this portion of the park reopens (Dorothy Lake, Opapiskaw, Nutimik Lake, and Otter Falls). In addition, White Lake Campground is closed (seasonal and nightly) and nightly camping is closed in Big Whiteshell Campground. 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