Water Level Update – March 25, 2021

water level chart

Yes, the Water Levels on our Lakes are Low

We have been getting comments and questions from our members about the current lake levels. Yes our lake levels are lower than normal for this time of year.

But this situation is not the result of actions by the TSW water management team. They are actively replacing logs in all dams, including the Mississagua Dam, to capture the available runoff while maintaining minimum downstream flows. The TSW Water Management Update from March 24, 2021 accurately describes the situation.

We have had significantly less precipitation than normal since October and the ground froze under quite dry conditions.  We had no rainfall events or winter thaw events in January and February. Through the first 24 days of March the Haliburton weather record shows only 3% of normal monthly precipitation. The snowpack was in the normal range but it has ripened and melted with the sunshine and very warm temperatures of recent weeks. As the snow melted much of the water released has been absorbed by the dry soil conditions and we also experienced significant sublimation as the snow evaporated.

TSW has been actively adding logs to all reservoir dams as the melt has occurred to store available water while maintaining minimum flows but the inflows have been limited.  The TSW plan is to bring reservoirs up to about 85% full and then hold in order to have storage to mitigate against flooding from extreme spring rains as we have experienced several times in the last few years. The objective as always will be to see the whole system; Reservoir lakes, the Kawartha lakes and the canal system; full by the end of May.

If the forecast rain occurs in the next few days we can expect there will be a lot of log activity at our dams. However in the last couple of weeks we have seen two huge storm events pass just south of Lake Ontario and have no impact on us. Even this weekend’s forecast seems to be showing less rainfall as the events get closer. Precipitation amounts are so hard to predict but TSW is ready to capture the runoff if and when it comes. We have a long way to go to make up for the dry months we have seen.

Residents should monitor the TSW water level website through Parks Canada – Water Levels for Mississauga Lake. The TSW site allows access to graphs and tables of water levels for all reservoir lakes and also accesses the water management updates that are posted when conditions are changing. Another website well worth subscribing to is the CEWF.CA site. It is the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow site. CEWF represents the 35 reservoir lakes in dealings with TSW and post all relevant information and bulletins.

The other big issue for all cottage lakes is that there is a lot of solid ice still in place which will be blowing around as levels rise. If we get rainfall events TSW will have to raise the lake levels.  Folks need to ensure their shorelines are clear and that everyone avoids the melting ice.

Ted Spence
CCA Lake Steward and Chair CEWF

See Water Levels for more information.