Ask Janet: Why the Low Levels?

Jun 08, 2017  Comment

Question: Why are the water levels in Marsh Lake and in the Yukon River so low right now?

Thanks for the question. In fact, we have had similar queries from a number of other people recently.

Some Yukoners are under the impression that we are holding back water in the system. As per our water license, we must have all our Marsh Lake control gates open by May 15th. This year they were all opened by May 12th. That means the level of flow that is coming through the Southern Lakes system is being controlled by Mother Nature and not Yukon Energy. The flows have been low because of the cool spring, which has delayed the spring freshet.

If you look at the graph below that shows Marsh Lake levels, you will see by the green line (other lines are for previous years) that the levels have increased quite a bit over the last several days as temperatures have risen.

We did, for a few days, lower the levels at Schwatka Lake at the request of the City of Whitehorse so they could construct a new dock, but that lake is now back to its normal level. This lowering was permitted under our water license. Please let me know if you need further information.

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