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On The Rise

This winter's heavy snowfall will mean more bugs and higher water levels

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 16/01) - It's too early to tell, but stocking up on mosquito repellant might not be a bad idea if water levels continue to rise.

According to Murray Jones, supervisor for NWT/Nunavut Area Water Survey of Canada, last winter's heavy snowfall may culminate into near record water levels in many of the lakes and rivers around the Yellowknife area.

"1999 was as a very high water level year, so we're right on track for that," Jones said.

Spring melt flowing into watershed basins North of Yellowknife indicate a 35 per cent increase in snowfall over last year, explained Jones.

"It looks like Prosperous (Lake) will be higher than last year and the same for Prelude Lake," Jones said.

"Most of the guys skidooing around there would know that, and everyone knows we sure got a pile of snow."

While lake and river levels in the North Slave basin are likely to be higher than normal this year, Jones does not expect this to have much of an impact for water levels on Great Slave Lake.

"Its influence comes from the Peace River and Slave River," Jones said.

Run-off flowing into the Beaulieu or Yellowknife Rivers simply does not compare to volume coming out of the Slave River, Jones said.

Snowfall in Northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, which feeds the Slave River, has not been as prevalent as that which occurred around Yellowknife over the winter. Still, water levels in Great Slave Lake are expected to be slightly higher this year than they were the year before.

"It's above where it was in the same period last year by about one tenth of a meter," Jones said.

Nonetheless, around Yellowknife water levels are higher, and that can only mean one thing.

"There will likely be more bugs," Jones laughed, "but that's out of our control."

Yet, according to Jones, having higher water levels is not all that bad.

"It recharges the river systems," Jones said. "There's a lot more moisture in the soil to start off the fire season."