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Lake of the Woods' main tributary sees highest level in 85 years

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Fishers get to work at sunrise on Lake of the Woods in a file photo.

DENNIS ANDERSON / TRIBUNE MEDIA MCT Enlarge Image

Fishers get to work at sunrise on Lake of the Woods in a file photo.

Heavy rains have forced Lake of the Woods officials to issue a high-water advisory for the area.

A weekend of heavy rainfall in the Rainy River basin has resulted in the river, the main tributary to Lake of the Woods, reaching its highest level in 85 years. Officials with the Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB) indicate the high water level is directly related to the significant increases to the rate of flow. Currently, the total rate of flow released into Lake of the Woods is more than double the maximum rate of flow into the Winnipeg River through the dams in Kenora.

The water level in Lake of the Woods is now at its highest mark since 2005. The water level is expected to rise another foot over the next week.

High levels are also present in the English River basin and at Lac Seul.

At Lac Seul, the outflow was ordered increased today from 500 to 575 cubic metres per second, an increase in rate that will increase the water level downstream of the dam in the Pakwash-Chukuni Lake system.

Officials are closing the diversion that flows from Lake St. Joseph on Tuesday, reducing inflow to Lac Seul by approximately 140 cubic metres per second or 15 per cent of the total rate of flow into Lac Seul.

With these high outflows from Lake of the Woods and Lac Seul, expect the Winnipeg River levels in the Whiteshell to come up starting sometime this week. Officials also indicate Nutimik Lake could rise 30-70 centimetres over the next two weeks.

The Winnipeg River empties into Lake Winnipeg, which is also now slightly above the top end of its preferred operating level of 715 feet above sea level. Manitoba Hydro regulates the level of the lake between 711 to 715 feet above sea level through its Jenpeg generating station at the lake’s north end on the Nelson River, where the lake empties.

Manitoba Hydro spokesman Scott Powell said Jenpeg has been operating at maximum flow since June 2.

Inflows from the Red River and Little Saskatchewan River are also running above normal due to rainfall.

The LWCB is asking residents to take the necessary precautions around docks and shoreline property, especially in cases where strong winds and wave action are present. Water levels are expected to remain high until a prolonged period of dry weather occurs.

Also, officials advise boaters to exercise caution, as reports of a significant amount of large debris have surfaced in the water.

The LWCB will be holding a public open house on Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Best Western Lakeside Inn in Kenora. Residents with shorefront property can keep informed about the rising water through the LWCB website or by listening to the recorded message at 1-800-661-5922.

History

Updated on Monday, June 16, 2014 at 7:58 PM CDT: corrects level of Lake Winnipeg

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