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August 2022

In Memoriam

The Lake of the Woods Control Board shares news of the passing of Rick Walden on July 16, 2022.

Rick served as Executive Engineer of the Board’s Secretariat from its creation in 1981 until his retirement in 2011. Rick’s dedication was beyond measure, managing the operations of the Board with a keen eye for detail and an unfailing commitment to engineering excellence. In addition to advancing the technical capabilities of the LWCB, he was instrumental in the modernization of the Board’s information and public outreach, including the development of the LWCB.ca website and the data products that are used by so many today.

Rick also served as Alternate Federal Member to the Board for sixteen years and made many important contributions as a long-serving Canadian Engineering Advisor to the International Joint Commission’s International Rainy Lake Board of Control.

Having developed close ties with many in the basin during his three decades of service, Rick will be fondly remembered.

2022.08.08 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.90 m (1062.7 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 10 cm (3.5 in) over the past week. The lake level is above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950. The dams in Kenora remain fully open. Over the next week the lake level is expected to decline by 12 to 15 cm (5 to 6 in).

With decreasing inflows to Lake of the Woods, the outflow from the lake will also gradually drop. Levels along the Winnipeg River will see decreases of up to 18 cm (7 in) directly below the Norman Dam and 13 cm (5 in) at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.70 m (1170.2 ft), 90th percentile level for this time of year. The level of the main body of Lac Seul declined by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by up to 7 cm (3 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 450 m³/s with no scheduled changes.

2022.08.05 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.96 m (1062.9 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week. The lake level is above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950. The dams in Kenora remain fully open. Over the next week the lake level is expected to decline by 12 to 14 cm (4.5 to 5.5 in).

Upstream, the level of Rainy Lake entered its Rule Curves on August 3rd. The first outflow reduction from Rainy Lake occurred on August 2nd and the second was completed August 5th. These flow reductions will have a direct effect on the level of Lake of the Woods, increasing its rate of decline.

With decreasing inflows to Lake of the Woods, the outflow from the lake will also gradually drop. Levels along the Winnipeg River will see moderate decreases of up to 10 cm (4 in) directly below the Norman Dam and 6 cm (2 in) at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.73 m (1170.4 ft), 90th percentile level for this time of year. The level of the main body of Lac Seul increased 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by up to 5 cm (2 in) over the next week depending on rainfall. Lac Seul authorized outflow increased to 450 m³/s on Friday, August 5th.

Manitoba Hydro has provided the following forecast for the Winnipeg River through the Whiteshell.

2022.08.04 July Precipitation

Although water levels on the major lakes peaked in June, heavier precipitation over the month of July did cause levels to stall. All areas of the basin received above normal precipitation between July 1st and 30th, even ranking above 80th percentile for all sub-watersheds, as shown in the graph and table below. This was a reversal of conditions compared to the month of June, which saw lower than normal precipitation totals. A significant portion of the basin recorded between 100 and 140 mm of rainfall over the course of the month. Some pockets of very high precipitation, ranging from 150 to 200 mm, were recorded along the Winnipeg River just North of Kenora and in the upper reaches of the Rainy Lake sub-watershed near Atikokan.

Basin Mean Precipitation July 1-31 / Source: Canadian Precipitation Analysis
July 1-31 Precipitation Totals for Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul and Comparable Percentiles for June 1-10

This higher than normal precipitation caused the levels of Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods to remain relatively stable over the month of July, rather than continuing or starting to decline. Some tributaries saw temporary increases in flows, especially those located where very high precipitation pockets occurred. The levels along the English River and the Winnipeg River in Manitoba did continue to decline. While levels on the Winnipeg River in Ontario remained stable.

Both Rainy and Namakan Lakes fell below their respective All Gates Open levels in July and re-entered their rule curves in early August. This return to normal levels upstream of Lake of the Woods has allowed for significant outflow reductions from Rainy Lake. With these outflow reductions, and should precipitation conditions remain normal in August, the level of Lake of the Woods will start to decline at a much faster rate than in July.

2022.08.03 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.99 m (1062.9 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week. The lake level is above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950. The dams in Kenora remain fully open. Over the next week the lake level is expected to decline by 10 to 12 cm (4 to 5 in).

Upstream, the level of Rainy Lake entered its Rule Curves on August 3d. The first outflow reduction from Rainy Lake occurred on August 2nd and another reduction is scheduled for later this week. These flow reductions will have a direct effect on the level of Lake of the Woods, increasing its rate of decline.

With decreasing inflows to Lake of the Woods, the outflow from the lake will also gradually drop. Levels along the Winnipeg River will see moderate decreases of up to 9 cm (4 in) directly below the Norman Dam and 6 cm (2 in) at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.72 m (1170.3 ft), 90th percentile level for this time of year. The level of the main body of Lac Seul changed little over the past week and is expected to decline by up to 4 cm (1.5 in) over the next week depending on rainfall. Lac Seul authorized outflow is scheduled to increase to 450 m³/s on Friday, August 5th.

2022.08.01 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 324.0 m (1063.0 ft), over 95th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week. The lake level is above the 2014 peak of 323.78 m (1062.29 ft) and is below the record peak since regulation began of 324.31 m (1064.0 ft), set in July of 1950. The dams in Kenora remain fully open. Over the next week the lake level is expected to decline by 8 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in).

Upstream, the level of Rainy Lake is expected to re-enter its Rule Curves as of August 1st. Outflow reductions from Rainy Lake are scheduled for this week and these flow reductions will have a direct effect on the level of Lake of the Woods, increasing its rate of decline.

With decreasing inflows to Lake of the Woods, the outflow from the lake will also gradually drop. Levels along the Winnipeg River will see moderate decreases of up to 9 cm (4 in) directly below the Norman Dam and 6 cm (2 in) at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.71 m (1170.3 ft), 90th percentile level for this time of year. The level of the main body of Lac Seul changed little over the past week and is expected to decline by up to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week depending on rainfall. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 400 m³/s with no changes scheduled.