Lac Saint-Jean’s unusual water level at this time of year worries many coastal residents.
According to Rio Tinto, the low rainfall in May placed the region with the 5th lowest rainfall in the last 30 years. In early June the water level in the lake should be at 16.5 feet so should be closer to 15 feet. Mid June. Just one step from the minimum threshold.
“Climate change is not easy for the tourism sector, especially for our marina,” said Saint-Gédion Mayor, Emile Hudon.
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“Another two, three weeks and we’ll be at 14 feet. The effect this has on our nautical club and on the whole environment is that the river will be closed,” said Commodore Regine Nade of the Belle-Rivière Nautical Club in Saint-Gedion.
“Those who have boats with deep drafts have a hard time turning around. There is so much riprap in the islands sector of Saint-Gedion that someone unfamiliar with the lake might have trouble. Instead of putting themselves in marinas, people increasingly put themselves in private docks to have access to the lake. Yes, worrisome. Last year we were unusually high, this year we are unusually low,” added Mr Hudon.
Further decline is expected
Rio Tinto estimates that the lake will reach 14 or 15 feet by the end of June, maintaining the level of Lac St-Jean for production from its hydroelectric dams. A descent for this time of year was considered unusual.
“The lake levels we see are higher in the fall than in the middle of the summer,” said the Saint-Gedion mayor. “Summer hasn’t started yet. We’ll have a great beach if it drops further. It hasn’t rained, it’s been weeks,” griped one resident.
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The region received only 40% of the expected rainfall last week. The reservoirs have to rise again before Lake Saint-Jean rises,” the resident said.
“We want rain, it will take a long time,” Mr Hudon said. Rio Tinto assures that the level of Lake Saint-Jean is still within normal operating parameters.
The multinational is closely monitoring the situation. July promises to be a dry month and Rio Tinto says rain is needed in the next few weeks to stabilize lake levels.