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Runoff Report 1999..... Shuswap River

1. Stream Description


The Shuswap River plays a very special and important role for the Shuswap Lake runoff. With a total length of over 195-km it is the largest stream leading into the Shuswap Lake.

The Shuswap River begins at the Joss Pass close to the Joss Mountain in an altitude of about 2,000m. In its first section it mostly collects water from the high altitude snowpack at the surrounding mountains up to an altitude of 2,900m, partially with permanent snow cover. Than it flows in and out of the Sugar Lake.

The Sugar Lake is a smaller lake at about 594m ASL, covering an area of 21.30 km with storage of 148-million m of water. The Peers Dam, used by BC Hydro to generate power regulates the outflow of the Sugar Lake. The BC Government regulates the maximum and minimum outflow.

About 25 km further downstream at Shuswap Falls is a second power generating station of BC Hydro. 2 larger streams, the Cherry Creek and the Ferry Creek, feed this section of the Shuswap River. Especially between the early runoff and the peak of the Shuswap Lake the water flow is significantly increased by those creeks, sometimes almost doubling in volume. The Wilsey Dam at Shuswap Falls, located in 448m ASL, creates almost no water storage and therefore has only insignificant influence of the water flow. Shortly after Shuswap Falls the larger Bessette Creek brings some water into the stream.

The Mabel Lake is a larger lake at an altitude of 393m ASL, covering an area of about 59.42 km. There is no official recording about the lake's storage capabilities and level changes during the runoff. But I'm still hopeful to find a local resident in the future with some data in this respect. Given by the size of the lake it seems very important to have some kind of recordings here because the Mabel Lake clearly act as buffer zone and most definitely has some impact for the Shuswap River downstream.

After the Mabel Lake the Shuswap River runs through Enderby before finally ending up in the Shuswap Lake (Mara Lake) at 346m ASL.

Table 1.1 below gives a final overview for the sections of the Shuswap River.

  Description Altitude in m ASL Difference in m
Section 1 Spring to Sugar Lake 2000 +  
Sugar Lake 594 1406 +
Section 2 Sugar Lake to Wilsey Dam 448 146
Section 3 Wilsey Dam to Mabel Lake
Mabel Lake 393 55
Section 4 Mabel Lake to Enderby    
Enderby to Mara Lake (Shuswap Lake) 346 47


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