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Secretariat

2023.07.06 Level Forecast and Lake of the Woods Outflow Reductions

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.93 m (1059.5 ft), a 25th 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 decrease by 2 to 5 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. In response to low inflows and to maintain storage over the summer, a series of outflow reductions is scheduled for next week. Lake of the Woods outflow will be reduced as follows:

  • 500 m3/s on Monday, July 10
  • 450 m3/s on Wednesday, July 12
  • 400 m3/s on Friday, July 14

These outflow reductions are larger than over the last month and as such the level of the Winnipeg River is expected to drop by several inches next week. By dropping flows on the Winnipeg River faster now, storage will be build up on the lake to help provide normal flows on the river for a longer period of time in the case of extended dry conditions. The level of the Winnipeg River will decrease with each outflow reduction by approximately:

  • 13 cm (5 in) below the Norman Dam
  • 7 cm (3 in) above the Dalles
  • no change at Minaki

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.94 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 2 to 6 cm (1 to 2 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.07.04 Lake of the Woods Outflow Decreases

Over the last week, weather conditions in the Winnipeg River basin have shifted to scattered isolated thunderstorms typical of this time of year. Although these storms produce local high rainfall amounts, the overall state of the basin remains dry and these scattered pulses of precipitation are not affecting tributary flows and lake inflows which remain low and in decline.

To hedge against this dry weather pattern, outflow decreases from Lake of the Woods will be directed to match outflow to inflow, allowing the lake level to stabilize. This will build storage on the lake, ensuring preferred levels and flows can be maintained for the summer months on both Lake of the Woods and the Winnipeg River.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 550 m3/s on Thursday, July 6. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to decrease by approximately 14 cm (5.5 in) below the Norman Dam, 8 cm (3 in) above the Dalles and no level impacts are expected at Minaki.

An additional two or three 50 m3/s outflow decreases are tentatively scheduled for the week of July 10 with details to be posted in the next week.

2023.07.03 Lake of the Woods Outflow Decrease

Despite some rain over the last week, inflows continue to remain below normal, and well below the current outflow. As a result, the level of Lake of the Woods will continue to drop over the next few weeks. To maintain preferred summer levels on Lake of the Woods, an outflow decrease is scheduled tomorrow with another planned later this week.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 600 m3/s on Tuesday July 4. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to decrease by approximately 14.3 cm (6 in) below the Norman Dam, 8.5 cm (3 in) above the Dalles and no level impacts are expected at Minaki.

Additional outflow decreases will be posted in the next few days.

2023.06.29 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 322.99 m (1059.7 ft), a 45th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level decreased by 3.1 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to continue to drop by 5-6 cm (2-2.5 in) over the next week, but this is dependent on precipitation and potential outflow decreases. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 650 m3/s.

With recent and planned flow reductions from Rainy Lake, Lake of the Woods outflow will likely need to be reduced to maintain preferred summer water levels. Since inflows are currently very dependent on precipitation, the weather forecasts and precipitation data are being closely monitored.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.91 m (1167.7 ft), a 25th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 5.3 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to continue rising by approximately 5-7 cm (2-3 in) over the next week, depending on precipitation. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.06.27 Lake of the Woods Outflow Decrease

With dry conditions, local inflows rapidly decreasing, and expected flow reductions from Namakan and Rainy Lakes, the level of Lake of the Woods will continue to drop over the next few weeks. To maintain preferred summer levels on Lake of the Woods while minimizing impacts to levels on the Winnipeg River, an outflow decrease is scheduled tomorrow with more planned at the end of this week and through next week.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 650 m3/s on Wednesday, June 28. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to decrease by approximately 15 cm (6 in) below the Norman Dam, 9 cm (3.5 in) above the Dalles and no level impacts are expected at Minaki.

Additional outflow decreases will be posted in the next few days.

2023.06.22 Level Forecast and Summer/Fall Strategy

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.02 m (1059.8 ft), a 55th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level decreased by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and could increase by 2 cm (1 in) or decrease by 5 cm (2 in) over the next week depending on the rainfall forecasted for Saturday and Sunday. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 700 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.85 m (1167.5 ft), a 35th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 8 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by 10 to 17 cm (4 to 7 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

Summer/Fall Strategy

On June 15, the LWCB held its spring Regulation Meeting, attended by specific interest groups and resource agencies, and adopted its Summer/Fall Regulation Strategy. The strategy outlines regulation targets for various inflow conditions for the period of June to the end of October. The Secretariat provided a review of how inflows developed this spring and the refill status of the major lakes. Recent dry conditions and outlooks for summer precipitation and temperature were also reviewed.

For Lake of the Woods, the strategy targets a return to slightly lower summer lake levels given naturally receding inflows due to the dry conditions and an ongoing desire for lower levels to assist with property repairs following the 2022 flood.

For Lac Seul, with drought conditions developing this spring, the strategy is focused on lake refill to the preferred summer levels. The strategy also specifies avoiding outflow reductions unless necessary, to ensure adequate water downstream on the English River.

2023.06.15 Level Forecast and Lake of the Woods Outflow Reductions

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.05 m (1059.9 ft), a 55th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level decreased by 1.5 cm (0.5 in) over the past week and is expected to decrease by 4 to 6 cm (1.5 to 2 in) over the next week. Lake of the Woods outflow will decrease gradually over the next few weeks in response to declining inflows. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is scheduled to decrease to:

  • 750 m3/s on Friday, June 15
  • 725 m3/s on Tuesday, June 20
  • 700 m3/s on Friday, June 23

With each of these outflow reductions, the level of the Winnipeg River is expected to decrease. River levels will drop with each outflow reduction by approximately:

  • 7 cm (2.5 in) below the Norman Dam
  • 5 cm (2 in) above the Dalles
  • 2 to 6 cm (0.5 to 2 in) at Minaki

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.77 m (1167.2 ft), a 35th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 8 cm (3 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by approximately 4 to 6 cm (1.5 to 2 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.

2023.06.12 Lake of the Woods Outflow Decrease

With Namakan and Rainy Lakes returning to their respective Rule Curves, large outflow decreases from Rainy Lake have started and as a result inflow to Lake of the Woods will begin dropping significantly over the next two weeks. To maintain preferred summer levels on Lake of the Woods while minimizing impacts to levels on the Winnipeg River, gradual outflow decreases are scheduled to start tomorrow.

Lake of the Woods authorized outflow will decrease to 775 m3/s on Tuesday, June 13. The level of the Winnipeg River is expected to decrease by approximately 11 cm (4 in) below the Norman Dam, 7 cm (3 in) above the Dalles and 7 cm (3 in) at Minaki.

Additional outflow decreases will be posted in the next few days.

2023.06.08 Level Forecast

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.07 m (1059.9 ft), a 60th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level increased by 4 cm (1.5 in) over the past week and is expected to remain stable over the next week. Lake of the Woods authorized outflow is 800 m3/s.

With Namakan and Rainy Lakes returning to their respective Rule Curves, large outflow decreases from Rainy Lake are expected next week. As a result, Lake of the Woods outflow will therefore need to be gradually reduced to maintain preferred summer levels as inflow to the lake declines. A schedule of outflow reductions will be provided in advance.

The current level of Lac Seul is 355.69 m (1167.0 ft), a 45th percentile level for this time of year. The lake level increased by 14 cm (5.5 in) over the past week and is expected to increase by approximately 12 cm (4.5 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 100 m3/s with no changes scheduled.


Come learn about the Winnipeg River drainage basin at the Lake of the Woods Control Board Public Open House on June 14, 2023 in Kenora.