IJC warns of extreme high water levels in the Rainy River Basin


The International Joint Commission is closely monitoring the extreme high water levels on Namakan Lake, Rainy Lake and the Rainy River, and is being kept informed of current conditions by the Water Levels Committee of its Rainy – Lake of the Woods Watershed Board. The Board advises:

At Fort Frances-International Falls, the dam on the Rainy River has flow passing through all turbines and 13 of the 15 sluice gates. This configuration allows the dam to pass the flow at the rate received from the outlet of Rainy Lake. As the lake level rises, the rate of flow from the outlet of Rainy Lake increases. The last two gates will be opened as necessary to ensure maximum outflow from the dam. … Both Rainy Lake and Namakan Lake will continue to rise in the near term, and their ultimate peak levels will depend on the amount of rainfall received over the next few weeks.

The Commission repeats the Board’s caution that waterfront property owners and users of the system keep themselves updated on basin conditions.

On March 7, in response to the heavy snow pack this past winter, the Water Levels Committee directed the owners of the dams at Rainy Lake and Namakan Reservoir to operate these dams so as to target the lower end of the regulated lake level range (the Rule Curves) to provide additional storage room in both lakes for the anticipated strong freshet flows.

Up to date information can be found on the IJC’s website.


Bernard Beckhoff Ottawa 613-947-1420 beckhoffb@ottawa.ijc.org

Frank Bevacqua Washington 202-736-9024 bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org