NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 1, 2023

News Type: 
Water monitoring bulletin

The Government of the Northwest Territories maintains water monitoring stations across the territory to keep track of water levels and flow rates in areas of potential flood risk for communities.

This information is provided regularly to territorial and regional emergency managers to help understand the status of waterways across the NWT in the lead-up to, and during spring break-up – the highest-risk period for floods in the Northwest Territories.

Technical data

Current status – NWT

  • Water levels at the Hay River near Hay River hydrometric gauge reached their ice-induced peak around 09:00 yesterday morning;
    • Water levels at the Hay River at the AB-NWT border gauge reached their ice-induced peak on Apr 29 around noon.
  • On the Liard River and on the Mackenzie River at Fort Simpson, water levels are rising under the ice, but the rates of increase are still small;
    • Most of the snowpack has melted in the lower Liard River basin;
    • Patches of open water have been identified on the Mackenzie River just upstream of Fort Simpson, near the Rabbitskin River.
  • Warmer than seasonal temperatures are forecast for the Hay River and lower Liard River basins over the next week;
    • Temperatures will exceed 20°C in the southern parts of the basins and will rapidly melt any remaining snow and soften river ice.

Current Status - Hay River

  • Provisional water level data at the Hay River near Hay River gauge indicates that water levels peaked yesterday morning at 3.97 m;
    • This peak is lower than the average peak during breakup and is 8.77 m lower than the peak from the last year;
  • Some consolidated ice remains in the East Channel;
  • Water levels at the AB-NWT border gauge reached their ice-induced peak Saturday on Apr. 29 around noon;
  • According to imagery viewed, there is no more ice upstream of Alexandra Falls;
  • Refer to the Town of Hay River website for the most up-to-date information, as well as webcam images of current conditions.

Current Status – Liard River

  • Most of the lower Liard River basin is snow-free;
  • Ice on the Liard River is softening in response to warm temperatures;
  • Water levels are increasing underneath the ice on the Liard River at Fort Liard;
    • The rate of water level rise is normal for this stage of break up;
  • The southern Dehcho region is forecast to receive warmer than normal temperatures throughout this week.

Current Status – Great Slave Lake/Mackenzie River

  • Open water sections have been reported on the Mackenzie River near the Rabbitskin River;
  • Water levels are rising underneath the ice at the Mackenzie River at Fort Simpson, but water levels remain average for this stage of break up;
  • Warm temperatures in the region should start moving ice in the next few days.