2020 Lake Water Levels
Have you ever wondered when the lake level is lowest? How about when the lake is highest? Do you know how much variance there is between the two? This year, the water level in the lake was lowest on April 12th and highest on June 27th. During the two and a half months between these dates, the water level in the lake rose by 1.2 meters! Nearly 30 centimeters of this rise occurred within 30 hours of the May 31 storm that caused local flooding.
This year, the water level in the lake peaked approximately two weeks later than in previous years. This delayed peak can be explained by many factors, including that this spring’s cool weather allowed the snowpack to persist well into the summer.
Our data suggests that the annual rise in lake level is due to overflow from Dutch Creek flooding into Columbia Lake during spring runoff. The base year-round lake level is sustained by groundwater from the Kooteney River, along with precipitation and water inflow from local streams. We continue to investigate the water balance of Columbia Lake annually to further our understanding of how water flows through the headwaters of the Columbia!