Portage Diversion now open

The Portage Diversion opened this morning:

http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=41252&posted=2017-03-31

The current gauge readings indicate that Lake Manitoba is at exactly 812.50 feet, the top end of its desired operating range. Lake Manitoba has risen, if the gauges are accurate, more than a 10th of a foot in the last 24 hours. This was before the Portage Diversion opened and was due mainly to high inflow from the Whitemud River (3,400 cfs) and snowmelt, on top of inflow from the Waterhen River (6,700 cfs). The combined flows of the Whitemud and Waterhen Rivers are now over 10,000 cfs, with outflow at Fairford about 7,900 cfs. The Fairford Water Control Structure is wide open, but with inflows exceeding outflows, the lake will rise further in coming days. It will rise faster once the ice clears on the Waterhen River: expect Waterhen flows to exceed 10,000 cfs once the ice is out.

Portage Diversion opening

The province has just announced it is preparing to open the Portage Diversion:

http://news.gov.mb.ca/news/index.html?item=41234&posted=2017-03-30

The Assiniboine River is rising rapidly with the warm temperatures. Its flow has quadrupled since last Sunday to  ~7,000 cfs this afternoon and it continues to rise. The Whitemud River has risen from near zero on Sunday to over 2,500 cfs today. Lake Manitoba has also risen from its winter low of 812.37 feet on Sunday to 812.45 feet this afternoon. It is continuing to rise as the snow melts rapidly.

ALMS Letter to Federal Govm’t Minister Carr

On March 16th, ALMS wrote to Minister Carr, of the Canadian Federal Government. The purpose of the Letter was to support the Province of Manitoba’s efforts to obtain permission to operate the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel, to help lower Lake St. Martin, while also further helping prepare for a probable flood.

The text of the letter is contained below, and a PDF copy of the letter can be found by clicking ALMS emergency outlet Letter March 2017

March 16, 2017

Dear Honourable James Carr, Member of Parliament:

in re. Lake Manitoba/Lake St. Martin

I represent the Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders (ALMS), which speaks for residents living along the lake from Delta in the south up to Grahamdale in the north basin. We formed in 2011 to have a united voice to address flood concerns. Over the years we have met with various levels of government to encourage action that will result in more effective management of water levels in Lake Manitoba.

We support the mitigation efforts of the Province against high water during this spring season. Manitoba Infrastructure has allowed the Fairford Water Control System to operate over the winter months which has a positive effect on water levels on Lake Manitoba. They have created storage capacity by lowering levels in the Shellmouth Reservoir. They have encouraged our Provincial neighbors to likewise lower their reservoir levels.

The Province has applied for approval for the operation of the Lake St. Martin Emergency Channel Outlet (LSMECO) to the Environmental Approvals Branch of Sustainable Development. They are seeking Federal Government approval through the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to use the LSMECO if water levels rise to flood stage at Lake St Martin. Having the ability to use the Emergency Channel will protect the residents at Lake St Martin and indirectly communities along Lake Manitoba by allowing the Fairford Water Control System to operate as intended.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,
Jack King
President, Association of Lake Manitoba Stakeholders

Lake Manitoba update: March 26, 2017

Spring is beginning and the snowmelt has begun. The level of Lake Manitoba fell over the week to 812.37 feet. Flow on the Waterhen River is beginning to rise and is now 5,683 cfs. Outflow at Fairford fell to 7,882 cfs. Flow on the Whitemud River is up slightly to 120 cfs. The level of Lake Winnipegosis rose to 833.83 feet. Lake St. Martin rose substantially last week after an ice jam on the Fairford River broke; that water appears to have cleared and the level of Lake St. Martin in now falling, sitting at 802.46 ft.

The level of the Shellmouth Reservoir rose remains unchanged and is currently 1386.40 feet. Flow downstream on the Assiniboine is starting to rise, reaching 1,871 cfs at Holland and 1,536 cfs at Headingly.

River update
Time: 7:30 AM March 26, 2017
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 1,871 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 1,536 cfs
Waterhen: 5,683 cfs
Whitemud: 120 cfs
Fairford: 7,882 cfs
 
Lake update
Time: 7:30 AM March 26, 2017
Steep Rock: 812.36 ft
Westbourne: 812.39 ft
Mean level Lake Manitoba: 812.37 ft
Lake Manitoba desired operating range: 810.5 to 812.5 ft
Lake St. Martin: 802.71 ft
Lake St. Martin desired operating range: 797.0 to 800.0 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.83 ft
Shellmouth Reservoir: 1386.40 ft

Lake Manitoba update: March 19, 2017

It has been an uneventful week. The the level of Lake Manitoba remains 812.42 feet. Flow on the Waterhen River is little changed from last week at 5,454 cfs. A gauge calibration was performed at Fairford and the flow reading has increased substantially to 8,331 cfs. Flow on the Whitemud River is down slightly to 102 cfs. The level of Lake Winnipegosis fell to 833.71 feet. Lake St. Martin rose substantially this week to 802.71 feet.

The level of the Shellmouth Reservoir rose remains little changed and is currently 1386.40 feet. Flow downstream on the Assiniboine fell to 1,606 cfs at Holland and 1,694 cfs at Headingly.

River update
Time: 9:30 AM March 19, 2017
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 1,606 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 1,694 cfs
Waterhen: 5,454 cfs
Whitemud: 102 cfs
Fairford: 8,331 cfs
 
Lake update
Time: 9:30 AM March 19, 2017
Steep Rock: 812.39 ft
Westbourne: 812.46 ft
Mean level: 812.42 ft
Lake St. Martin: 802.71 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.71 ft
Shellmouth Reservoir: 1386.40 ft

Lake Manitoba update: March 12, 2017

The storm that largely missed Winnipeg this week dumped an enormous quantity of snow into the Lake Winnipegosis, Assiniboine, and Souris basins. This is not good news for Lake Manitobans. Lake Winnipegosis has remained at a record high level since December and the additional snow will add to the runoff during the spring freshet. All of that water ends up in Lake Manitoba and then Lake St. Martin. The snow will also increase runoff into both the upper Assiniboine and Souris basins and will add to the flow reaching the Portage Diversion during the spring freshet that is now rapidly approaching.

The precipitation that fell this week has raised the level of Lake Manitoba to 812.42 feet. Flow on the Waterhen River is up substantially to 5,472 cfs, up 1,200 cfs on the week. Outflow at Fairford also increased to 6,707 cfs, up 400 cfs on the week. Flow on the Whitemud River is down slightly to 113 cfs. The level of Lake Winnipegosis rose to 833.78 feet. Lake St. Martin rose substantially this week to 802.44 feet.

The level of the Shellmouth Reservoir rose slightly this week and is currently 1386.22 feet. Flow downstream on the Assiniboine fell to 1,906 cfs at Holland and 2,153 cfs at Headingly.

River update
Time: 9:30 AM March 12, 2017
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 1,906 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 2,153 cfs
Waterhen: 5,472 cfs
Whitemud: 113 cfs
Fairford: 6,707 cfs
 
Lake update
Time: 9:30 AM March 12, 2017
Steep Rock: 812.40 ft
Westbourne: 812.45 ft
Mean level: 812.42 ft
Lake St. Martin: 802.44 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.78 ft
Shellmouth Reservoir: 1386.42 ft

Lake Manitoba update: March 5, 2017

It has been another week of little change. Lake Manitoba continues its slow decline and now sits at 812.39 feet. Flow on the Waterhen River fell to 4,201 cfs, while outflow at Fairford fell to 6,142 cfs. Flow on the Whitemud River is up slightly to 131 cfs. The level of Lake Winnipegosis remains unchanged at 833.71 feet. Lake St. Martin continues its decline, currently sitting at 802.07 feet.

The level of the Shellmouth Reservoir fell 0.75 feet on the week and is currently 1386.32 feet. The Ministry of Infrastructure reduced outflow from the reservoir this week, and the reservoir level is holding steady now. Flow downstream on the Assiniboine is beginning to fall registering 2,312 cfs at Holland and 2,577 cfs at Headingly.

River update
Time: 8:45 AM March 5, 2017
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 2,312 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 2,577 cfs
Waterhen: 4,201 cfs
Whitemud: 131 cfs
Fairford: 6,142 cfs
 
Lake update
Time: 8:45 AM March 5, 2017
Steep Rock: 812.38 ft
Westbourne: 812.41 ft
Mean level: 812.39 ft
Lake St. Martin: 802.07 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.71 ft
Shellmouth Reservoir: 1386.32 ft