Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 2, 2022

News Type: 
Water monitoring bulletin

The Government of the Northwest Territories maintains water monitoring stations across the territory to keep track of water levels and flow rates in areas of potential flood risk for communities.

This information is provided regularly to territorial and regional emergency managers to help understand the status of waterways across the NWT in the lead-up to, and during spring break-up – the highest-risk period for floods in the Northwest Territories.

Technical data

Current status - NWT

  • The initiation of spring break up is delayed relative to average break up times due to cooler than normal spring temperatures;
  • Snowmelt is ongoing throughout the basins in the south of the NWT;
  • Break up has started in the upper Hay River basin with ice movement on the Chinchaga River;
  • Water levels continue to rise slightly on the Liard River at Fort Liard;
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada are forecasting warm weather in the southern NWT into the coming weekend. This warm weather will help to melt residual snowpacks and expedite the melt of river ice.

Hay River

Current status

  • Snow in the upper (southern) part of the basin is starting to melt;
  • Snowmelt is ongoing throughout the entire basin;
  • The Chinchaga River [07OC001] (major tributary to the Hay River) has begun to break up. It looks like ice from the Chinchaga River has jammed on ice at the Hay River (as of the morning of May 02), causing water levels on the Chinchaga to rise; 
  • Water levels are beginning to rise further downstream on the Hay River, but the rate of increase is still relatively slow;
  • Warm temperatures are forecast for this week with some models predicting rain events over the basin this coming weekend;
  • Ice is still solid along the Hay River in the NWT.


Image of Hay River water levels near Town of Hay River on May 2, 2022

Hay River near the Town of Hay River hydrometric gauge photo, May 2. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT.

Liard river

Current status

  • Snowpack continues to melt across the basin;
  • Water levels are slowly beginning to rise underneath the ice at the Liard River at Fort Liard;
  • Break up has been reported to start in the Upper Liard (YT), but has not yet started in the NWT;
  • Warm temperatures and possible rain are forecast for this week.


Liard River at Fort Liard hydrometric gauge photo, May 1, 2022. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT

Slave River/Great Slave Lake/Dehcho (Mackenzie River)

Current status

  • Break up is well underway in the Peace/Athabasca basins, which drain into the Slave River;
  • Break up has not yet commenced on the Dehcho.


Mackenzie River at Strong Point hydrometric gauge photo, April 28th. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT.