NWT high water levels could delay freeze-up, change ice conditions

Last modified: November 19, 2020 at 3:24pm

The territorial government warned NWT residents to take care on the land as high water levels continue into the winter, which could change the way freeze-up takes place.

High water levels have plagued the territory throughout the year, causing high levels of sediment and minerals in the Hay and Slave rivers and creating large silt plumes in Great Slave Lake.

According to a GNWT news release on Thursday, current water levels in Yellowknife Bay on Great Slave Lake are half a metre higher than average.


Water in the territory is also moving faster than normal. The South Slave’s Taltson River was moving at 628 cubic metres per second as of November 12, far faster than its average of 215 cubic metres per second.

The GNWT said this could affect when ice forms and how stable it will be.

Tell friends and family where you’re going and when you plan to return, the territory urged people heading out on the land. Both Inuvik and Fort Smith have seen search operations to retrieve people from the land in recent days – in each case, those involved were found in good health.

The GNWT also asked people to travel in a group on the land where possible, check weather conditions before leaving, bring an emergency survival kit, and check in regularly with home when you can.

Residents can find real-time data for the NWT’s rivers, lakes, and streams on the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.