Dry conditions still affecting water levels

Dry conditions over the Rainy-Namakan basin since June have caused low water conditions on Rainy Lake.
Following an early but near normal spring run-off, basin conditions became dry and have remained so. Due to the lack of rainfall, the level of Rainy Lake has been below its lower rule curve since Aug. 29.
Outflow has been at the minimum specified by the International Joint Commission (IJC) since mid-July.
The level of Rainy Lake today (Oct. 27) is 337.05 m (1,105.8 ft.)—31 cm (12 inches) below its lower rule curve and 14 cm (five inches) below its “drought line,” falling at a rate of about 3.5 cm (1.4 inches) per week.
For the time of year, the current lake level is the lowest since 2003, but 0.6 m (2.0 ft.) higher than the record low water level for October recorded in
1998.
Upstream, the level of Namakan Lake remains within its IJC rule curve band.
The commission’s 2001 consolidated order establishes a required minimum outflow of 100 m3/s (3,530 ft3/s) for Rainy Lake, whenever the lake level falls below its IJC rule curve band.
The order provides that the outflows may be further reduced to not less than 65 m3/s (2,300 ft3/s) if lake levels fall below the “drought line” defined in the order.
The order provides that any such reduction is at the discretion of the International Rainy Lake Board of Control (IRLBC), following appropriate consultations with resource agencies and affected municipalities and others.
The board has been closely monitoring hydrologic conditions within the basin, particularly with respect to water levels and flows. It has reviewed the current low water situation on Rainy Lake with regard to possible outflow reductions related to lake levels falling below the Rainy Lake “drought line.”
The effects of any potential reductions in Rainy Lake outflow on
the Rainy River have been considered in consultation with the International Rainy River Water Pollution Board.
Both boards are in agreement that the current outflow provides a reasonable balance between the needs of the lake and the river, and that no further reductions in Rainy Lake outflow are deemed advisable at this time.
The board will continue to closely monitor the situation, taking appropriate action as warranted by future conditions in the basin, and will advise the public of any actions taken.
The board recommends property owners and users of the system keep themselves updated on basin conditions. Up-to-date information can be found by following the International Rainy Lake Board of Control link at www.ijc.org
People also call the board’s engineering advisors, Rick Walden (1-819-997-2529) or Ed Eaton (1-651-290-5617).

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