NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 9, 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 

  • The water level on the Mackenzie River in the Sahtu region is climbing slowly underneath the ice;
    • Open water leads are forming at the mouths of tributaries between Fort Simpson and Tulita;
  • Temperatures in the Sahtu are forecast to be warmer than normal and mostly sunny in the Sahtu through this weekend;
    • Night-time temperatures are forecast to remain above freezing;
    • This will likely rapidly melt remaining snow in the region and deliver runoff to streams and rivers;
  • Water levels on the Peel and Arctic Red rivers have slowly started to rise under ice;
  • Temperatures in the Peel River basin and Beaufort Delta are forecast to be seasonal or slightly below for the next week with cloud cover;
    • This will continue to delay snowmelt in the region;
  • Early indicators show that there is an increased potential for flooding in the Peel and Arctic Red river basins;
    • This increased potential stems from highest on record over-winter water levels, high precipitation last summer/fall, high snowpack, and a colder-than-normal spring;
    • The maximum extent of spring break up water levels will be dependent on weather conditions over the coming weeks;
    • More information for land users in the basins is available here.

Current Status – Mackenzie River

  • The water level on the Mackenzie River in the Sahtu region is rising slowly underneath the ice as snowmelt and break up progress northward.

Current Status –Peel River and Beaufort Delta

  • Water levels are slowly rising under the ice on the Peel and Arctic Red rivers as snowmelt begins;
  • Early indicators show the potential for high water and out-of-bank flows on the Peel River and Arctic Red rivers at break up;
  • More information will be available as spring progresses and the snowpack melts.