Notice of Meeting – Feb 2nd, 2015

Reminder nominations are still open for all executive positions.

Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders

GENERAL MEETING NOTICE

February 2, 2015 7:00 P.M.
Monday

Address: 1 ST. JOHN’S AMBULANCE WAY
PORTAGE AVENUE (ACROSS EARL’S)

AGENDA to follow

Open to All members of ALMS. Those seeking membership are invited to contact ALMS per the “contact us” page.

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Flood update: January 25, 2015

Finally a bit of good news. The level of Lake Manitoba is starting to fall more rapidly now that Waterhen flows have subsided to 3,565 cfs. Flows at Fairford have fallen slightly over the last week to just over 9,400 cfs. The lake fell 0.06 feet last week and currently sits at 813.28 feet.

One year ago, on Jan 25, 2014, the level of Lake Manitoba was 812.14 feet.

The gauge on Lake St. Martin is currently offline.

The gauge on the Assiniboine at Holland is also currently offline.

River update
Time: 10:00 AM January 25
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: no data
Waterhen: 3,565 cfs
Whitemud: 49 cfs
Fairford: 9,425 cfs

Lake update
Time: 10:00 AM January 25
Steep Rock: 813.31 ft
Westbourne: 813.24 ft
Mean level: 813.28 ft
Lake St. Martin: no data

MIT forecast for Lake Manitoba

Members of ALMS met today with MIT (Steve Topping and Doug McMahon) and received an update on current conditions for Lake Manitoba and projections for the remainder of winter.

The current lake conditions are essentially those reported in the last Sunday flood update: the current gauge readings are correct. Lake Manitoba is sitting at 813.35 feet; outflow at Fairford is 9,700 cfs and inflow at Waterhen is 3,880 cfs. Flow on the Whitemud River is negligible.

Lake St. Martin is sitting at 801.94 feet and flow in the Emergency Channel is currently 3,300 cfs.

Flows at Fairford will decline from the current level to about 8,600 cfs by April 1. It was explained to us that raising Fairford flows right now creates dangerous ice conditions downstream on Lake St. Martin and the Dauphin River and raises issues of safety for fishers on the ice. There have already been issues of flooding at the mouth of the Dauphin River and any increase in flows would make these worse.

Flow on Waterhen has declined sharply in recent weeks with the cold weather and will decline further over the rest of the winter.

MIT is forecasting that the level of Lake Manitoba will reach 812.7 feet by April 15th. They are including in their forecast not just the difference in inflows and outflows, but also average levels of precipitation that also affect the lake level. Steve Topping explained that the weight of snow on the ice causes the lake level to rise and this is built in to their projections.

MIT forecasts that the level of Lake St. Martin will continue to rise to a peak of 802.2 feet by April. Flood level on Lake St. Martin is 801.0 feet. Flow in the Emergency Channel will rise as the level of Lake St. Martin rises.

It is likely that the Portage Diversion will open in the spring to prevent ice jamming on the lower Assiniboine. As for end of winter/early spring flows on the Assiniboine, the snowpack upstream is normal, and the soil moisture content is high. The local snowpack is below normal, but this has little effect on Assiniboine flows that reach Portage la Prairie. How much water comes down the Assiniboine will depend in large part on late winter / early spring precipitation.

Flood update: January 18

On November 6th MIT reduced flows on the Fairford River to prevent the formation of frazil ice on the Dauphin River. Under their Winter Operations Policy, Fairford flows were to be reduced for a period of six weeks. That has not happened, and now it appears that Fairford flows will not rise until the open water season. The current flow through Fairford has now fallen to just over 9600 cfs.

The gauges on Lake Manitoba were recalibrated last week resulting in a slightly lower estimate of the lake level. Since then the lake level has basically remained unchanged, sitting at 813.34 feet, or one one-hundredth of a foot lower than one week ago. Unless something changes dramatically, with Fairford outflows reduced by MIT Lake Manitoba will remain high until spring.

The level of Lake St. Martin continues to rise and is now sitting at 801.97 feet.

The gauge on the Assiniboine at Holland is currently offline.

The Waterhen gauge was recalibrated last week, after reporting flows far too high since ice up. The current gauge reading is 3,777 cfs. However, if this is the true reading for Waterhen, and Fairford flows are truly above 9,600 cfs, then the lake should have fallen about 7/100ths of a foot over the last week. It did not. This raises suspicions that some of the gauge readings are currently in error: either the Waterhen readings are too low, or the Fairford readings are too high, or the lake level gauges are in error.

River update
Time: 11:00 AM January 18
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: no data
Waterhen: 3,777 cfs
Whitemud: 56 cfs
Fairford: 9,637 cfs

Lake update
Time: 11:00 AM January 18
Steep Rock: 813.38 ft
Westbourne: 813.30 ft
Mean level: 813.34 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.97 ft

How high are current Assiniboine flows?

Records of January flows on the Assiniboine at Holland date back to 1969 (46 years of data).

The current flow (Jan 12) on the Assiniboine is 146 m/s or 5,154 cfs. This flow rate at this time of year is unprecedented.

The average flow rate in January is 22.4 m/s (= 791 cfs). The median flow in January is 19.2 m/s (= 678 cfs).

Only twice since 1969 have January flows previously exceeded 50 m/s (= 1,765 cfs): in 2012, when the average flow was 51.5 cm/s = 1,818 cfs; and in 2011 when mean January flows reached 91.9 m/s = 3,244 cfs.

Current flows on the Assiniboine are 159% of 2011 levels, and 6.6 times greater than average January flows.

Clearly, there is an abnormally high flow of water on the Assiniboine this winter.

Flood update: January 10

On November 6th MIT reduced flows on the Fairford River to prevent the formation of frazil ice on the Dauphin River. Under their Winter Operations Policy, Fairford flows were to be reduced for a period of six weeks. It has now been announced in the press that flows will not be restored to previous levels this winter. The current flow through Fairford is about 9800 cfs.

The gauges on Lake Manitoba were recalibrated this week resulting in a slightly lower estimate of the lake level. The lake is currently sitting at 813.35 feet about 1/10th of foot lower than reported last week. With Fairford outflows reduced by MIT, Lake Manitoba will remain high until spring and is poised for renewed flooding next year.

The level of Lake St. Martin is rising steadily and is now sitting at 801.90 feet. Evidently, reduced outflows in the Emergency Channel mean that the only floodworks built in the aftermath of the 2011 flood are not working as designed: that is, to allow maximum outflows from Lake Manitoba over winter without raising the level of Lake St. Martin. Flows out of Lake Manitoba are not maximal, and the level of Lake St. Martin is rising.

Why the emergency channel was only partially opened has never been explained by MIT.

Flows on the Assiniboine at Holland remain over 5,000 cfs which is extremely high for this time of year.

The Waterhen gauge was recalibrated this week, after reporting flows far too high since ice up. The current gauge reading is 4,148 cfs.

River update
Time: 10:00 PM January 10
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 5,224 cfs
Waterhen: 4,148 cfs
Whitemud: 55 cfs
Fairford: 9,813 cfs
 
Lake update
Time: 10:00 PM January 10
Steep Rock: 813.39 ft
Westbourne: 813.31 ft
Mean level: 813.35 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.90 ft