LOW Control Board Public Open Houses
Tuesday, October 15th, Winnipeg: 7-8:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn South 1330 Pembina Highway, Winnipeg
Wednesday, October 16th, Kenora: 7-8:30 p.m. at the Clarion Lakeside Inn 470 1st Ave S, Kenora
High Flow Conditions | Lake of the Woods | Winnipeg River | Lac Seul | Lower English River
In response to very high rainfall and water level increases over the past six weeks, the Lake of the Woods Control Board is holding this meeting to explain how the damn is working, what to expect over the next while and into winter. They hope to address the many concerns presented to the board, including potential property and shoreline damage.
Executive engineer with the Lake of the Woods Control Board, Matt DeWolfe, explains how the historic amounts of rainfall is affecting water levels in the Lake of the Woods and Winnipeg River areas. Q104 Kenoraonline's interview with Matt DeWolfe included at the bottom of this article is definitely worth listening to and will provide answers to several of the questions many people are asking https://www.kenoraonline.com/local/out-of-control-water-levels-after-historic-rainfall
LWCB Public Information Notice released late Thursday, October 10 included below and attached.
LWCB PUBLIC INFORMATION NOTICE OCTOBER 10TH
Public Information Notice
Lake of the Woods Secretariat
October 10, 2019
HIGH FLOWS ACROSS ENGLISH and WINNIPEG RIVER BASINS
Highlights: Extremely high fall flows into Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul and the Winnipeg and English Rivers have developed over late September and are expected to continue throughout October. The Lake of the Woods Control Board increased outflow from Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul in recent weeks to limit lake level rise ahead of freeze-up. High lake and river levels are expected to continue into November.
Following a relatively dry summer, rainfall in September and early October has set seasonal records in most areas across the Winnipeg River and English River basins (see attached rainfall map). This has resulted in fast rising lake levels and river flows the watershed. In some cases, the resulting flows are approaching records for this time of year.
Outflow from Rainy Lake into Rainy River, which is regulated by the International Joint Commission, is four times greater than normal for early October. This is contributing less than half of the extremely high inflow to Lake of the Woods, the remainder largely coming from direct rainfall around the lake over the past few weeks.
In response, the LWCB directed opening of the Norman Dam in Kenora starting September 23, with the final logs being pulled on October 10. As a result, the level of Winnipeg River has risen rapidly by 2.5 meters (~ 7 feet) in this period, with the level at Minaki rising over 1 m (3 feet) and continuing to rise.
Outflow from Lac Seul has also been increased significantly over the past two weeks, and is now higher than a 1-in-10 year event for October. The Winnipeg River in Manitoba is also rising quickly in response to the increased flow from both lakes and heavy rainfall locally. The level at Nutimik Lake has risen 1.4 m (4.5 feet) since late September and is expected to continue to rise over the coming week as the flows from Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods arrive and additional heavy rainfall is received this weekend.
Fully opening Norman Dam at this time of year is an exceptional step, with the quickly rising water causing damage to shorelines along the Winnipeg River. With additional rainfall, Lake of the Woods is nearing the top of the operating level range defined in a Canada-United States treaty. Fully opening the dam is necessary at that level if flows remain high. By fully opening the Norman Dam prior to the treaty level, the lake level will rise less. With a lower lake level, there is less pressure available to push water through the sluices at Norman Dam, meaning Winnipeg River peak flow and level will be lower than if the full opening of the dam were delayed.
The LWCB’s aims to limit lake level rise before freeze-up, with current plans to sharply reduce lake outflow before freeze-up in late fall and to return the river to more moderate flows. This is subject to change based on precipitation over the next month. Lowering lake and river levels prior to freeze-up is key to limiting shoreline ice damage on lake and river following freeze-up. Based on the latest flow forecasts, however, it is likely that the lake level will not be lowered significantly before freeze-up, leaving shoreline structures vulnerable to winter ice.
High water content in the ground at freeze-up and a high lake level are key factors for spring flood risk on the lake and river. Shoreline interests are advised to take precautionary steps as appropriate to their location prior to winter. High flows throughout the system, including smaller tributaries and the main rivers, pose a risk to boater safety. Additional caution when on or near waterways is advised.
Visit www.lwcb.ca for the latest water levels and flows see the LWCB’s Notice Board for updates on planned flow adjustments:
LWCB Notice Board: www.lwcb.ca/noticeboard.html
Recorded message at 800-661-5922 ex. 1
Lake of the Woods Secretariat
firstname.lastname@example.org 800-661-5922 ex 2
LWCB NOTICE BOARD UPDATE FROM THURSDAY OCT. 10th
More rain or snow expected this weekend.Total rainfall over the past 6 weeks has been remarkably high for this time of year, with 220-255 mm broadly across the Winnipeg and English River watersheds. This has set new records for this period around Lake of the Woods and Winnipeg River in Ontario and Manitoba, and is the second highest on record along the English River and Lac Seul.
The LWCB has rapidly increased outflow from both Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul in recent weeks in response. Further increases are scheduled for this week with the objective of preventing high lake levels at freeze-up and allowing for more moderate winter flows along these rivers.
The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.23 m (1060.5 ft), which is greater than 95th percentile level for this time of year and up 5 cm (2 inches) from a week ago. Current outflow from Lake of the Woods is approximately 1225 m³/s
In response to continued extreme inflow, the LWCB has directed that the remaining logs in the sluices at Norman Dam be pulled on Thursday, October 10. Outflow is expected to rise to 1275-1300 m³/s as a result of this operation.
Expected river level rise from this flow adjustment:
Below Norman Dam: 20 cm (8 in)
Above Kimberley Rapids 17 cm (7 in)
Winnipeg River Marina 19 cm (8 in)
Near Locke Bay 18 cm (7 in)
Above Myrtle Rapids 18 cm (7 in)
Above the Dalles 18 cm (7 in)
Above Throat Rapids 18 cm (7 in)
Minaki 13 cm (5 in)
As with recent flow increases, the further downstream from Norman Dam, the longer it will take for the change to develop. The level at Minaki will is expected to take several days to adjust to each flow increase.
With maximized outflow and the substantial precipitation forecast over the long weekend, the level of Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by 9-16 cm (4-6 in) over the next week.
The current level of Lac Seul is 356.52 m (1169.7 ft), a 75th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level rose by 5 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to rise by 5-12 cm (2-5 in) over the next week with the additional precipitation in the forecast.
Lac Seul authorized outflow is scheduled to increase from 475 to 575 m³/s on Thursday, October 10th.
Over the next couple of weeks, the Winnipeg River level in Manitoba will continue to rise due to the high flows provided by the English and Winnipeg Rivers upstream.
Forecasts provided by Manitoba Hydro on Tuesday, October 8 for river level change over the next 7 days are as follows:
Nutimik Lake: rise of 0.69 m (2.3 ft)
Dorothy Lake: rise of 0.53 m (1.7 ft)
Margaret/ Eleanor Lake: rise of 0.47 m (1.5 ft)
Sylvia Lake: rise of 0.32 m (1.1 ft)
LOWDSA News on our website: www.lowdsa.com/articles
Lake of the Woods Control Board: www.lwcb.ca
Recorded Message: 1-800-661-5922 x.1 Secretariat: 1-800-661-5922 x.2
LOWDSA on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LOWDistrictStewardshipAssoc
LOWDSA on Twitter: @lowdsaLakeTime
Instagram: Lake of the Woods Stewardship
Phone LOWDSA: 807-468-8715 or 1-888-265-9784
Q104 Kenora Online Article with LWCB Interview: www.kenoraonline.com/local/out-of-control-water-levels-after-historic-rainfall