Home The Snow Melting Process Runoff Report 1999

The Shuswap Lake Facts

The Shuswap Lake, located in the center of southern British Columbia, Canada, is a joint lake system consisting of
  • Shuswap Lake
  • Seymour Arm
  • Anstey Arm
  • Salmon Arm
  • Mara Lake.

Wide, open connections make it behave like a single unit. Surface level changes always apply to the whole lake system. Therefore, the name Shuswap Lake as used in this research always points the complete lake system as listed above.

ShuLake.gif - 11376 Bytes

Major streams leading into the Shuswap Lake:
Shuswap River 195.55 km. (121.5 mi.) Mara Lake
Salmon River 146.30 km. (90.9 mi.) Salmon Arm at Salmon Arm
Adams River 130.99 km. (81.4 mi.) Shuswap Lake between Sorrento and Chase
Eagle River   75.92 km. (47.2 mi.) Shuswap Lake at Sicamous
Seymour River   70.71 km. (43.9 mi.) Seymour Arm
Scotch Creek   56.54 km. (35.1 mi.) Shuswap Lake at Scotch Creek
Chase Creek   43.00 km. (26.7 mi.) Shuswap Lake at Chase
Anstey River   30.07 km. (18.7 mi.) Anstey Arm
Outlets of the Shuswap Lake:
South Thompson River 63.08 km. (39.2 mi.) Shuswap Lake at Chase

Shuswap Lake System:
Shuswap Lake
Elevation 347 m. 1,138 ft.
Surface Area 30,959.55 ha. (309.596 sq.km.) 119.535 sq.mi.
Perimeter 341.829 km. 212.4 mi.
Mean Depth 61.5 m. 202 ft.
Maximum Depth 161.5 m. 530 ft.
Outlets 1  
Permanent Inlets 34  
Mara Lake
Elevation 347 m. 1,138 ft.
Surface Area 1,942.56 ha. (19.426 sq.km.) 7.5 sq.mi.
Perimeter 42.266 km. 26.3 mi.
Mean Depth 18.3 m. 60 ft.
Maximum Depth 45.7 m. 150 ft.
Little Shuswap Lake
Elevation 347 m. 1,138 ft.
Surface Area 1,813.06 ha. (18.131 sq.km.) 7.0 sq.mi.
Perimeter 21.166 km. 13.2 mi.
Mean Depth 14.3 m. 47 ft.
Maximum Depth 59.4 m. 195 ft.

Other Lakes Feeding Water into the Shuswap Lake:
Adams Lake
Elevation 408 m. 1,339 ft.
Surface Area 13,759.8 ha. (137.589 sq.km.) 53.127 sq.mi.
Perimeter 149.487 km. 92.9 mi.
Mean Depth 169.2 m. 555 ft.
Maximum Depth 457.2 m. 1,500 ft.
Mabel Lake
Elevation 395 m. 1,296 ft.
Surface Area 5,986 ha. (59.860 sq.km.) 23.112 sq.mi.
Perimeter 79.736 km. 49.5 mi.
Mean Depth 119.9 m. 393 ft.
Maximum Depth 200.6 m. 658 ft.
Sugar Lake
Elevation 606 m. 1,988 ft.
Surface Area 2,080 ha. (20.800 sq.km.) 8.031 sq.mi.
Perimeter 36.0 km. 22.4 mi.
Mean Depth 35.1 m. 115 ft.
Maximum Depth 82.6 m. 271 ft.
(Source: Watershed Dictionary, BC Ministry of Fisheries)

The Shuswap Lake is the center point of a large stream and lake network. Approximately 526 streams and lakes, covering a runoff area of about 25,000 square km, contribute their water into the Shuswap Lake. The South Thompson River, the only outlet of the Shuswap Lake system, carries the total intake about 500 km west through British Columbia where it is finally released into the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver.

The Shuswap Lake acts as buffer zone and regulator for the outflow. The amount of water released into the South Thompson River is regulated by the lake level itself. This allows very precise and reliable calculations about the water mass released downstream.

Three major inflows (Shuswap River, Eagle River and Salmon River) are located at the opposite end from the outflow. This causes a constant flow of water through the complete lake system based on the combined water mass of those streams.

The complete watershed behind the Shuswap Lake is a complicated but well-regulated network of streams and lakes. Many small and medium sized lakes act as buffer zones during the initial runoff before allowing a throughput of nearly 100%. Currently there are no data available to analyze certain behavior patterns or its relevance during the runoff and therefore will be a future project of this research.

The Sugar Lake is the only intentionally regulated watershed. The outflow, a continuum of the Shuswap River, is controlled by a dam and maintained by BC Hydro as power generator station.

Streams and lakes covered by this research:
(526 items, list not yet complete)

To view the full list, click here

Source: Watershed Dictionary, BC Ministry of Fisheries
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Copyright (C) 2003 Bernhard Kramer, Sicamous, BC - Canada