LWCB provides insight on area water levels at open house
Tim Brody - Editor
Lake of the Woods Control Board (LWCB) board members and staff were in Sioux Lookout on June 11 to answer questions and respond to comments community members might have about water levels or regulations on the bodies of water they frequent for work and pleasure.
“The LWCB is your most complete and accurate source of information on current and forecast water levels for Lake of the Woods, Lac Seul and the Winnipeg and English Rivers in Ontario.
“The LWCB website is updated each working day with the latest data and information on flow changes,” stated literature accompanying board members and staff.
LWCB executive engineer Matt DeWolfe, P.Eng., commented of the open house held at the Best Western Inn, “The purpose of the open house is just to make the board accessible to members of the public who might have questions or concerns about water levels in the area.”
He explained, “Board members themselves, they’re appointed by the various governments that are involved in the systems, so Ontario, Manitoba and the federal government all appoint members. They come from different areas around the country and all have a background in water resource engineering. The control board itself is a technical board, it isn’t a political institution or even a part of governments, but it has the job of regulating Lac Seul and Lake of the Woods and also the English River and Winnipeg River in Ontario downstream of those dams to try to balance water levels throughout the system for all of the different people who are affected by water levels.”
Asked about water levels this spring he shared, “This spring has been one of the lower years we’ve had in recent years. Very, very dry conditions in April, a bit more rain at the end of May, but overall in the last few months we’ve had less rain than we typically do. Which has been interesting, particularly for the Lac Seul and English River basin system because since 2000, we’ve had a remarkable number of years in consistency of very high flows year round. I think of the top 10 years since record keeping started in the early 20th century, eight of those top 10 years have been since 2000. Of course, with the very high water in 2014 included there.
“This year has been a bit of an anomaly when you look at the past 15 – 20 years. Conditions are terribly low. We’re not in a major drought season but we are dealing with less water than we have had in recent years. Lac Seul is slowly coming up and you can see the lakes upstream of Lac Seul are also slowly rebounding after the snowmelt. We’ll need normal rainfall over the rest of the summer to keep the levels up.”
People can find out more about LWCB and stay on top of water levels and flows by visiting www.lwcb.ca or calling toll free: 1-800-661-5922.