Water levels on Kootenay Lake remain high for this time of year as can be seen from the bay between the mall and the Lakeside playing fields.

Water levels on Kootenay Lake remain high for this time of year as can be seen from the bay between the mall and the Lakeside playing fields.

The return of the beach

Beach goers may have to wait a while longer before they are able to take in the full beach experience.

Beach goers may have to wait a while longer before they are able to take in the full beach experience.

Kootenay Lake water levels have started to decrease since they peaked on June 15 and 16 at 1751.7 feet, but many beaches still remain under water or drastically reduced.

According to FortisBC, the water level for the lake on Wednesday was 1749.70 feet in Queens Bay and the Nelson elevation was 1747.52 feet.

“This year with the record level snowpack, there was a higher than normal level of inflows into Kootenay Lake, which meant the water level rose.” said Neal Pobran, corporate communications manager for FortisBC.

“Right now we believe that on June 16 the water level peaked, and the water level is coming down and evacuating the lake.”

An International Joint Commission order regulates water levels.

“Right now we are continuing to operate the Corra Linn Dam at free fall which means we’re not restricting the water leaving Kootenay Lake,” said Pobran.

FortisBC forecasted water levels would decrease by four to 10 inches between June 30 and July 10.

“The lake will continue to rescind and then it will follow the International Joint Commission,” he said.

The Nelson dog walk was closed due to high water levels, but Karen MacDonald, acting director of parks for the city, says it has now reopened.

MacDonald also said the playing fields parking lot, which was closed due to flooding, dealt with itself and has reopened.

“We are going to fix that this year, probably in the fall or early next spring,” she said.

“This is the first year it’s been that high since the sand fields went in.”

The lake was higher than the catch basin that normally drains the parking lot.

— With files from Greg Nesteroff