|Balancing the Interests|
WHAT IS THE LWCB?
The Lake of the Woods Control Board manages the waters of Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul, and the Winnipeg and English Rivers between the outlets of these lakes and their junction. It was formed in 1919 and operates under Canadian federal and provincial legislation and a Canada-United States Treaty. The Board consists of four members -- one representing Canada, one from Manitoba and two from Ontario. The LWCB serves vastly diverse interests in the basin and tries to produce conditions that are reasonably acceptable to all.
Whether you're a year-round resident or cottager, consumer or producer of electricity or drinking water, commercial or industrial enterprise, or recreational boater or angler, the LWCB's responsibility is to balance your needs with those of other users.
Because of the variety of interests, our efforts involve compromise. Using the best available measuring, forecasting and information systems, we look for solutions that accommodate all interests.
EXPERTISE TO SERVE YOU
The LWCB regularly measures water levels at strategic points, gathers weather information and monitors outflow from the basin's outlets. Through state-of-the-art monitoring and satellite link-ups, this data -- more than 6,000 pieces each week -- is brought together and professionally analyzed in the interests of the basin's users.
KNOWING OUR LIMITS
Lake levels and river flows are regulated by operating dams at the outlets of Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul. However, these give us only partial control. Apart from the restricted capacity of these dams and the river itself, other factors such as nature, forecasting, board jurisdiction and competing interests affect our ability to manage the system.
This is the biggest variable. Intense rain storms, dry spells, and heavy evaporation affect levels all over the basin. We can't control the elements, but we try to limit their impact on the basin's users.
In spite of technological advances, estimating spring lake fill-ups is still not a perfect science. When, where and how intense precipitation and snow melt will occur simply can't be known months in advance. We consider a range of possible conditions and plan the best use of available resources, allowing a safety margin for high or low extremes.
We're not alone in managing the water resources of the Winnipeg River Basin. The International Rainy Lake Board of Control supervises regulation of Namakan and Rainy Lakes, which provide about two-thirds of the inflow into Lake of the Woods. Another body, the International Lake of the Woods Control Board, approves outflows from Lake of the Woods when levels are above or below specified elevations. As well, there are other agencies and private organizations managing water bodies which do not fall within the LWCB's mandate.
The Board seeks to consider all of the interests in the basin -- large and small, private and commercial, year-round and seasonal, river and lake. Our scope of action is guided by the very real needs of these interests. As the needs are occasionally very different, it can sometimes be impossible to find a compromise which suits everyone's goals.
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