Yukon Energy hoping for approval to lower Marsh Lake water level further to prep for wet summer

·2 min read
Andrew Hall is the CEO of Yukon Energy. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Andrew Hall is the CEO of Yukon Energy. (Claudiane Samson/Radio-Canada - image credit)

Yukon Energy says it has dropped the water level at Marsh Lake 49 centimetres since March 3, and it's hoping to get approval to lower it even more to prepare for a season that's forecast to be significantly wet.

"The concern is around potential for flooding in the summer," Andrew Hall, president of the corporation, said Friday.

Yukon Energy is trying to bring the current level down to what's called the low supply level — 653.796 m, which is the lowest it's allowed to reach.

However, the corporation wants to be allowed to drop it a further 10 cm.

"The idea would be: Pull it down lower in the spring to try and mitigate the increase that would happen, you know, subsequently in the summer," said Hall.

The corporation cited a Yukon government forecast, which said the snowpack level at the Whitehorse Reservoir is at 172 per cent of the normal level.

Hall said the best forecast at the moment for the coming months — which considers the snowpack level and other factors — shows the water level at the lake reaching the same point it reached in 2004.

"If it reaches that 2004 level, it will be high, and it's possible that some residences could get impacted," he said.

Yukon Energy is planning to apply for an emergency amendment to its water licence via the Yukon Water Board to allow for the lower level.

The corporation is meeting with chiefs of three First Nations with traditional territory in the area to discuss the amendment.

If there are no major concerns raised, the plan is to make the request to the board within a couple of weeks.

Yukon Energy has other water-control measures at its disposal, including the Lewes River Control Structure.

According to the corporation, all 30 gates were opened by March 19. Last year, that happened on May 10.