International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board Water Levels Committee Announces April 15th Water Level Targets for Rainy and Namakan Lakes


The International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board (IRLWWB)’s Water Levels Committee (WLC) met to review current conditions and forecasts and determine lake level targets for April 15th. Personnel from the National Weather Service-Duluth Office, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry-Surface Water Monitoring Centre, and dam operators were in attendance to provide up to date information on basin conditions and forecasts.

The April 15th target water levels for both Rainy and Namakan Lakes will be the lower 25% of their respective rule curve bands. The WLC will continue to monitor conditions over the coming weeks and provide further direction for lake level regulation when necessary.

The April 15th targets were established based on an evaluation of current and forecast conditions including the following factors:

  • Recent snow events have increased current snowpack since March 10.
  • Snow-Water Equivalent (SWE) remains slightly above normal to much above normal in the Rainy River basin, with higher amounts occurring in the eastern areas of the basin and decreasing closer to normal moving west.
  • River forecast models from the North Central River Forecast Center indicate higher chances of greater than normal streamflow volume, especially in the Rainy River headwaters.
  • The latest spring flood risk outlook from the National Weather Service, issued on March 23, indicates an increase in spring flooding risk compared to the previous outlook on March 10.
  • Short term forecasts do not indicate melt occurring in the next 10 days (temperatures leaning below normal and precipitation leaning slightly above).

The WLC was made aware of concerns from residents regarding the risk of not being able to refill Namakan Lake to normal levels by the second week in May for the fishing opener. With the higher SWE in the headwaters flowing into Namakan Lake, the risk of not refilling the lake is decreased.

An information public session will be held on April 11, 2023, to provide an updated summary of basin conditions and seasonal forecast information as part of the spring regulation plan. Register for the information session

For updated information on WLC decisions, visit the IRLWWB’s Water Level Decisions & Data page.

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Alexandra Lavictoire (Engineering Advisor, Canada)
Abby Moore (Engineering Advisor, United States)
International Rainy-Lake of the Woods Watershed Board