Lake of the Woods Control Board Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
 
 

WATER LEVEL VARIABILITY OVER TIME

QUESTION:  Why are water levels more erratic now and more often high than they used to be?
ANSWER:  In fact, they aren't. It is quite true that water levels on the Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River have varied more over the last few years, and in particular been higher, than many people remember. Both 2001 and 2002 were wet years, with high levels, while 2003 was a dry year with low levels, and then in June 2004 levels were high again. Other FAQ's on this site provide information on the weather that led to these conditions. However, similar events have occurred before. People don't remember simply because the 20 or so years prior to 2001 exhibited few such events when compared to the longer record. The graph below shows a number of periods in which the level of Lake of the Woods was higher than it was in June 2004 in several adjacent or alternate years (1940-50's and mid 1960's) and also shows periods when higher years were followed by low years and then higher years again (1937-41, 1956-62). The second graph below, showing Lake of the Woods outflow, shows a number of years when the outflow exceeded 1236 m/s (the peak outflow in June 2004), and also shows several periods when this happened quite frequently, such as the 1940's and the early 1960's to the early 1970's.