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Province keeps eye on high lake levels

LAKE Winnipeg has risen to its third-highest level since Manitoba Hydro began regulating the province's largest body of water in 1976.

On Monday, Lake Winnipeg sat at a wind-eliminated level of 716.13 feet above sea level, or 1.13 feet above the upper limit of Manitoba Hydro's recommended operating range for the lake.

Lake Winnipeg was slightly higher than it is now during the summer flood of 2006 and rose to 717 feet above sea level in July 2011 after both the Red and Assiniboine rivers had significant flooding.

Lake Winnipeg reached its highest recorded level in 1974, when it rose above 718 feet. Significant flooding occurred in both Winnipeg Beach and Gimli that year.

The recommended range for Lake Winnipeg is 711 to 715 feet. Manitoba Hydro regulates the lake through a control structure at the Jenpeg Operating Station on the western arm of the Nelson River.

Lake Winnipeg is expected to peak at 716.6 feet later this summer, Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship predicted Monday.

The province expects Lake Manitoba, meanwhile, to peak at a wind-eliminated level of 814.8 feet above sea level on Aug. 1. Due to variations caused by wind, Lake Manitoba levels ranged from 815 feet at its southwestern edge to 813.9 feet on its northeast shore on Monday.

The recommended operating range for the lake is 810.5 to 812.5 feet above sea level. Outflows are regulated by the province at the Fairford Control Structure.

Lake Manitoba reached its highest level during the 2011 flood, when it peaked at 817.1 feet above sea level and dozens of properties were destroyed during a May storm.


-- Bartley Kives

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