Real Time Water Levels For Lake Nipissing at French River Outlet
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Weekly Upper French River Water Level Forecast
Understanding Lake Nipissing And French River Water Levels
Managing the Lake Nipissing / French River watershed is difficult. Prior to the construction of the Chaudiere control dams at Dokis, the water level of Lake Nipissing was actually lower than at present and was subject to extreme fluctuations. Despite being shallow, Lake Nipissing does hold a vast amount of water, and downstream on the Lower French, sudden rises or drops in water level can cause havoc. The mind-set of those managing the water levels is that we must “share the pain”, and that sometimes we might be inconvenienced by higher or lower than average water levels. The Operating Guideline signed in 1995 by all stakeholders stipulate that at least a minimum flow must be maintained even in dry times. In the dry summer of 2010, Lake Nipissing was about 60 cm (2 feet) below the summer average, and that was definitely an inconvenience. The Lower French was 2 m (6 feet) lower than average, causing even greater difficulty.
The goal for the summer is a 20 cm (8 inch) operating range from 195.75 metres above sea level (masl) to 195.95 masl. (The goal for the winter draw-down is 194.5 masl.)
In the fall, usually beginning at the end of October, the lake is drawn down slowly to its winter level 194.5 masl. This level is reached in late winter before the spring freshet.