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Secretariat

2023.08.24 Level Forecast

Conditions across the Winnipeg River drainage basin remain dry, with some rainfall forecasted in the next week and more in the northern portion of the basin around Lac Seul. Water levels and flows throughout the basin all remain below normal.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.72 m (1058.8 ft), a 15th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level dropped by 3 cm (1 in) this past week and is expected to decline by 2 to 4 cm (1 to 1.5 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 150 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.09 m (1168.3 ft), a 15th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 1 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to remain relatively stable over the next week, increasing or decreasing by 2 cm (1 in). Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.08.21 Lake of the Woods Outflow Reduction

The extremely dry conditions and very low inflows to Lake of the Woods have caused the lake level to fall steadily since the beginning of August. The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.73 m (1058.8 ft) a 15th percentile level for this time of year.

In line with it’s Regulation Strategy, the LWCB is directing an outflow reduction to try to maintain storage on the lake as drought conditions persist. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 150 m3/s tomorrow, Tuesday, August 22.

This outflow reduction will cause the Winnipeg River water level to drop by approximately 8 cm (3 in) below the Norman Dam, 2 cm (1 in) above the Dalles, and will cause no change at Minaki. The Winnipeg River below the Norman Dam and at Nutimik Lake, in Manitoba, are both at a 10th percentile level for this time of year.

2023.08.17 Level Forecast and Drought Conditions

Drought conditions persist and worsen across the Winnipeg River drainage basin. The North American Drought Monitor (map for July below) has now categorized the whole basin as being in a moderate drought and the upper English River basin in a severe drought. As such, the LWCB continues to try to maintain storage on the lakes and as much flow as possible in the rivers with the possibility of drought conditions extending into the fall.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.75 m (1058.9 ft), a 15th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by another 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 200 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.08 m (1168.2 ft), a 15th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level remained stable over the past week and is expected to change little over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.08.10 Level Forecast and Lake of the Woods Outflow Reduction

Across the Winnipeg River basin, tributary flows and lake inflows remain low due to the underlying drought conditions. Precipitation in July was closer to normal for some areas of the basin, notably along a band stretching from Fort Frances, through Dryden and up to Red Lake. Much of this rain was soaked up by the dry ground and did not run off as inflow to the rivers and lakes. With large outflow cuts from Rainy Lake this past week and warm temperatures causing lake water to evaporate, inflow to Lake of the Woods has dropped sharply. An outflow reduction, as described below, is therefore necessary to slow the lake level decline and maintain storage heading into the fall.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.78 m (1059.0 ft), a 15th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 200 m3/s tomorrow, Friday, August 11.

This outflow reduction will cause the Winnipeg River water level to drop by approximately 9 cm (4 in) below the Norman Dam, 3 cm (1 in) above the Dalles, and will cause no change at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.08 m (1168.2 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level remained stable over the past week and is expected to increase by 2 to 7 cm (1 to 2.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.08.03 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.81 m (1059.1 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 1 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 250 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.08 m (1168.2 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 2 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to increase up to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.07.27 Level Forecast

Many parts of the basin received some much needed precipitation over the past week. Although this rainfall does help slow or stop the declining flows and levels temporarily, underlying drought conditions persist across the entirety of Winnipeg River basin and sustained precipitation will be needed for a return to normal conditions.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.82 m (1059.1 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level remained stable over the past week and is expected to decline by 1 to 2 cm (0.5 to 1 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 250 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.06 m (1168.2 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 4 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 1 to 3 cm (1 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.07.20 Level Forecast and Update on Ear Falls/Lac Seul Station Outage

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.83 m (1059.1 ft), a 20th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level decreased by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 250 m3/s tomorrow, Friday, July 21. There are no other outflow changes planned for the next few days.

This outflow reduction will cause the Winnipeg River water level to drop by approximately 10 cm (4 in) below the Norman Dam, 4 cm (2 in) above the Dalles, and will cause no change at Minaki.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.02 m (1168.0 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 6 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week.

The outage that affected the Ear Falls/Lac Seul Generating Station on July 18 is causing ongoing issues. As such, Lac Seul outflow is being maintained at 140 m3/s to allow for repairs to be made. This slightly higher than authorized outflow will not cause a decline in lake levels and outflow will return to the authorized 100 m3/s as soon as possible. Updates will be posted to this Noticeboard as they are received.

2023.07.18 Unplanned Outage at Ear Falls/Lac Seul Generating Stations

There has been an unplanned outage at the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Ear Falls and Lac Seul generating stations, and outflow from Lac Seul has been reduced to 0 m3/s since 8am this morning, July 18, 2023. Hydro One and OPG are working to resolve the issue, but the duration of the outage is currently unknown.

The Lake of the Woods Control Board has directed OPG to ensure a minimum of 50 m3/s of outflow (via spill) by the end of the day, if the issue is not resolved by this evening.

Please contact the Lake of the Woods Secretariat at secretariat@lwcb.ca or 1-800-661-5922 if you have any concerns. We will provide another update once the issue is resolved.

2023.07.13 Level Forecast and Lake of the Woods Outflow Reductions

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.