TSW Water Management Overview

The CEWF Executive Committee has been receiving some questions and comments from members regarding this spring’s water management in the reservoirs by Parks Canada. The main concern we have heard relates to the late filling of many of the reservoirs.

Your Executive has been in regular communication with the TSW water management team, and we understand their strategy and actions. The TSW strategy is definitely to minimize the risk of flooding related to snowmelt and spring rainfall events remembering the extreme flood events of 2013 and 2017 both of which occurred when the reservoir levels were fairly high as a result of extreme rainfall events (April 15 to 19 in 2013, and April 30 to May 6 in 2017). In 2018, there was an extreme rainfall event in the forecast at the end of April that resulted in TSW action to lower the levels in many reservoirs resulting in high flows and rapid level changes. The more gradual filling this year is maintaining storage capacity for such rainfall events and forecasts.

The TSW is also monitoring the levels of water stored as snow and in the soil as well as drainage local runoff rates. This spring we had a greater than average snowpack and a late melt particularly in the upper Gull basin. The long range forecast has been for a wet spring and already there have been several significant rain and rain on snow events. The TSW has begun filling reservoirs in the upper Burnt River system and in the Central lakes with the most significant filling in lakes that are known to be harder to fill. In the Gull, the harder to fill reservoirs have seen log adjustments while the TSW has maintained storage capacity in other lakes particularly those just above Minden and in large headwater lakes like Kennisis.

The TSW is now posting frequent Water Management Updates detailing forecasts and changing conditions. The updates are also posted on the CEWF website. It is important to follow these updates as condition may change quickly at this stage of the spring runoff.

To view the latest update issued April 16 – click here