NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – November 3, 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 across the NWT remain very low, moving into freeze-up. 
  • These dry conditions began last summer and fall (2022) and have persisted through this summer and fall (2023).
  • In October, rainfall was close to average across the NWT.
  • In October, snowfall amounts (presented here as snow water equivalent, which is the amount of water left over when snow is melted) were variable throughout the territory. 
  • The trend of warm air temperatures in the summer continued to October, with the NWT being much warmer than normal during this month.

Great Slave Lake and Mackenzie River

  • Great Slave Lake and Mackenzie River water levels remain extremely low,
  • This is largely due to hot and dry conditions in northern Alberta and British Columbia, and the southern NWT.
  • Great Slave Lake is currently at the lowest water level ever recorded.

South Slave and Dehcho Regions

  • In the South Slave and Dehcho regions, the summer and fall were very warm and dry.
  • October rainfall was above average in Fort Smith, below average in Hay River, and about average in Fort Simpson. Fort Smith was the only community to record an appreciable amount of snow.

North Slave Region

  • Rainfall amounts in the North Slave region in October were lower than average in the Yellowknife region, and slightly higher than average in the Tłı̨chǫ. Very little snow was recorded in this region.
  • Water levels and flows on many gauged rivers in the North Slave region are at or near the lowest on record (for the time of year), including:
    • Cameron River (lowest on record)
    • Yellowknife River
    • Prelude Lake
    • Prosperous Lake
    • Snare River (lowest on record)
    • Coppermine River (lowest on record)

Sahtu Region

  • The Sahtu region received about average rainfall (although total amounts were very low) and average snowfall in October. o
  • Water levels and flows on most gauged rivers and lakes in the Sahtu are below normal, including:
    • Great Bear River (slightly below normal)
    • Great Bear Lake (well below normal)
    • Loon River (below normal)
    • Hare Indian River (about normal)

Beaufort Delta Region

  • The Beaufort Delta region received less rainfall than normal and above-average snowfall in October.
  • Water levels and flows on gauged local rivers in this region are variable, likely due to a late-fall precipitation event in the Peel River and Arctic Red River basins: 
    • Peel River (above normal)
    • Arctic Red River (above normal)
    • Rengleng River (below normal)
    • Travaillant River (about normal)