Rainy River Watershed Conditions Notice


Rainy River water levels are the highest observed in 85 years, compounding the high inflows to the basin both upstream and downstream of the Rainy Lake outlet. The high water levels on the Rainy River and Little Fork River have backed up to the dam and are impacting the Fort Frances and Boise Powerhouses. All eight generators at the Fort Frances Powerhouse were taken offline Monday morning as their cooling pumps were under water. This results in a 6% reduction of outflow from Rainy Lake. Current Rainy Lake outflow is estimated at 981.5 cubic meters per second (34,660 cubic feet per second). H2O’s top priority is to safely restore service to these units as soon as possible.

The Boise Powerhouse has 46-51 cm (18-20 inches) of water on their powerhouse floor and may shut down their generators as well. If Boise’s generators go offline, flows will be further reduced by 18%.

The Water Levels Committee is regularly monitoring conditions in the watershed and will post updates as conditions warrant. The Committee is keeping the International Joint Commission informed of the situation.

The Water Levels Committee met Saturday night to discuss options for outflows from Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake dams. The Committee determined that closing sufficient gates to reduce the flows on Rainy River and thus storing water on Rainy Lake to alleviate flooding downstream at the Town of Rainy River would increase flooding upstream without necessarily improving conditions on the Rainy River. Therefore, dams at Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake remain fully open and passing maximum flows. Inflows to Namakan Lake and Rainy Lake are greater than outflow capacity therefore the lake elevations are still rising.

The latest information lake levels, dam settings, and basin flows can be found online at http://www.ijc.org/en_/RLWWB. For further information, please call (800) 661-5922 ex 3.