Water Level Update – 28 May 2021

water levels graph

The water level on the Mississagua chain of lakes, including Catchacoma, has been at the full level since early May. The Trent-Severn Waterway (TSW) water management team has continuously adjusted the logs in the dam to maintain our full level while providing at least a minimum flow to the Mississagua River. This has been accomplished in spite of the fact we have been experiencing very dry conditions over the last three months.

We were fortunate that our snowpack melted early and gradually filled our lakes with the active dam management by TSW. Unfortunately the experience has not been shared by reservoirs further north where the melt occurred very quickly with high winds and very warm temperature in March. Much of their snowpack sublimated (evaporated) or was absorbed by the very dry local watershed soils. In spite of active management by TSW of all dams, the result has been that many reservoirs are still significantly below their full levels and are now dependent on significant rainfall events to reach their full levels. This is the case for Crystal Lake and for Eels Lake in our area and for several large reservoirs in the Gull River basin above Minden including Kennisis, Hawk, Halls and Kushog lakes.

The Kawartha lakes, the connecting Canal sections and the downstream waterway are all a full levels to support navigation. TSW has already introduced water conservation measures in the Kawartha Lakes and downstream with the flow on the Otonabee River in Peterborough at its minimum. The Waterway system is opening for Navigation on May 28.

Over the recent weeks we have seen several significant rainfall events pass south of us or far to the north. If we do not get significant rainfall over the entire upper Trent River area, TSW will probably have to begin drawing water from the reservoirs earlier than normal. The established policy is that water is drawn on an equal percent basis so reservoirs that are at their full levels like Mississagua and Anstruther will be drawn on first.

So while our water level experience this spring has been very good we desperately need significant rainfall across the system to fill all of the reservoirs so that we can have normal water levels through the summer.

Ted Spence
CCA Lake Steward and CEWF Chair

Current Parks Canada water level information can be found at Parks Canada – Water Levels for Mississauga Lake.