NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 17, 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 

  • Fort McPherson has declared a local state-of-emergency in response to high water levels and restricted access to fresh water and the airport;
    • Cabin owners along the Peel River and residents of Fort McPherson should be aware of continued potential for high water along the Peel River;
  • As of 10:00 this morning, a 25 km long ice jam was present on the Peel River;
    • The ice jam was maintaining high water on the Peel River at Fort McPherson;
    • The ice jam was sitting about 15 km upstream of Fort McPherson and extended 10 km downstream of the community;
    • There was approximately 10 km of solid ice remaining below the toe (most downstream extent) of the ice jam.
  • Reports have indicated that the ice jam started moving at 12:30 today, and is still moving as of 15:30, with water levels dropping since that time;
    • The water levels around Fort McPherson will depend on how ice continues to clear on the Peel River;
  • Residents in Aklavik should prepare for high water at break up if a strong ice jam forms at the mouth of the Peel River and water backs up through the Peel Channel;
  • Water Survey of Canada technicians are installing a temporary gauge on the Peel River this afternoon and provided the photographs in this report;
  • Local ice on the Mackenzie River at Tsiigehtchic has moved;
    • As of yesterday at 14:00, satellite imagery indicates an ice jam approximately 40 km upstream of Tsiigehtchic (on the Mackenzie River) that has been holding back the majority of Mackenzie River ice;
    • Photographs from the gauge on the Mackenzie River at Tsiigehtchic show that the ice is starting to move into the Mackenzie Delta.