Water regimes & levels

In the mid-1960s provincial power planners made a fundamental long-term decision on the future supply of electricity for the province. The decision was to build a series of hydroelectric generating stations on the northern part of the Nelson River, along with a high voltage direct current transmission system.

This led to the construction of:

  • 3 generating stations along the lower Nelson River: Kettle, Long Spruce, and Limestone.
  • A high voltage direct current transmission system to carry the electricity to southern centres.
  • Lake Winnipeg Regulation, completed in 1976, allowed Lake Winnipeg to be regulated within certain limits thereby allowing for greater flows into the Nelson River when needed. The project increased the winter capacity of the generating stations in order to meet the greater demand for electricity during our long, cold Manitoba winters.
    View more information on Lake Winnipeg Regulation.
    View Lake Winnipeg current & historic water levels.
  • Churchill River Diversion, completed in 1977, redirects most of the flow of the Churchill River at Southern Indian Lake into the Rat River, then the Burntwood River, and eventually through the generating stations on the lower Nelson River. The diversion increases the power producing potential of the lower Nelson by as much as 40%.
    View more information on Churchill River Diversion.

The Lake Winnipeg Regulation and Churchill River Diversion projects both resulted in changes to the local water regime, largely in the northern part of the province. Climate change is also affecting the regional water regime. Read more about our efforts to understand how the changing climate affects our water regime in our Climate Change Report (PDF, 3.7 MB).