River levels expected to rise again


The Ottawa River Regulating Committee is warning that water levels from Mattawa down to Lac Coulonge are expected to increase again and reach another peak over the next week.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the committee said the rate of snowmelt in the northern regions of the Ottawa River basin is quickly increasing with warming temperatures.

“Reservoirs in the Abitibi-Timiskaming area are filling rapidly with snowmelt and runoff from precipitation from that part of the watershed. Water released from the reservoirs is increasing and will cause water levels on the Ottawa River downstream between Mattawa and Lac Coulonge to increase.

“Flows and levels could rise rapidly at times between Mattawa and Lac Coulonge and will possibly exceed flood levels experienced earlier last month.”

Water levels in the Pembroke reach of the river have already passed the 2017 peak of 113.03 m above sea level, reaching a maximum of 113.36 m this spring.

Levels had receded somewhat, and were at 113.2 m as of Saturday afternoon.

Historically, aside from 2017, the river had only reached 113 m four times before since 1950, according to records kept by the Regulating Committee – in 1951 (113.34 m), 1960 (113.67 m), 1967 (113.0 m), and 1979 (113.32 m).