Conditions in the Winnipeg River drainage basin over the last month have been abnormally dry and inflows to the Lake of the Woods, Lake St. Joseph and Lac Seul are all at or less than the 5th percentile. Precipitation for the month of June across the basin has been approximately half of the normal amount, and even less around Lac Seul and Lake St. Joseph (see map below). The North American Drought Monitor is also indicating abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions for this area.
The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.86 m (1059.3 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level decreased by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to continue to decrease by approximately another 6 cm over the next week.
In response to these low inflows and to maintain storage over the summer, further outflow reductions are scheduled for next week (similar to this week). Lake of the Woods outflow will be reduced as follows:
- 350 m3/s on Monday, July 17
- 300 m3/s on Wednesday, July 19
- 250 m3/s on Friday, July 21
Each of these outflow reductions will cause the Winnipeg River water level to drop by approximately:
- 11 cm (4 in) below the Norman Dam
- 5 cm (2 in) above the Dalles
- no change at Minaki
The current level of Lac Seul is 355.96 m (1167.8 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by approximately 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s. There will be a temporary outage at Ear Falls and Manitou Falls generating stations, between July 15 to 17, which will result in a temporary decrease in outflows during this time. At least 50 m3/s outflow will be maintained during this outage, and outflows will be back to the authorized outflow of 100 m3/s on July 17.