Our Water Levels Have Peaked and are Expected to Fall.
As of July 20 our water levels have begun to fall slowly after reaching to just 8 cms below our full level and close to our all time high level for the date just last week. The drawdown forecast posted on July 20 by the Trent-Severn Waterway water management team indicates that our level will drop by as much as 21 cms over the next two weeks assuming we do not get more exceptional rainfall events. This will also result in a significant increase in flow in the Mississagua River.
This year we have seen huge changes in water levels as we have moved from full lakes in May, through a period of extreme drought that saw record low levels in June, followed by significant rainfall events bringing us to near record high levels now.
When we last posted an update on water levels on June 16th our level was well below average for that date and falling. By June 27 we reached a low level that was the lowest ever recorded for that date. The low levels were the result of several months of drought conditions and the fact that water was being drawn from our reservoir to maintain minimum navigation levels in the waterway through the Kawartha Lakes and downstream.
We began receiving significant amounts of rainfall in Mid-June and by the end of June we had received 154% of normal June Rainfall (Haliburton Weather station). Now in July as of the 18th , we had already received 119% of our normal July rainfall. TSW has been actively operating our dam. They were successful in bringing levels back up to seasonal levels and beyond. When our level peaked last week we were 15 cms above average for the date and only 8 cms below our full level. Last Friday and again on Monday additional logs were removed from the dam and there is now a significant flow down the Mississagua River. But the rate of drawdown is being moderated by the fact there has been significant inflow from Anstruther Lake and all our contributing streams
Because the rainfall has impacted the entire Trent Basin the Kawartha Lakes and the Canal system has been operating at maximum levels and the reservoirs have been managed to store water and bring all lakes up to seasonal levels and higher, and only now is TSW able to begin drawing the reservoir system down. Drawdown is important as protection against potential flooding if extreme rainfall events continue, and also to get the system on track for the fall drawdown with the objective of achieving minimum levels by mid-October, which is required to support the spawning of lake trout in our system.
We recommend that readers refer to the website CEWF.CA where you will find the latest information from TSW including the weekly Drawdown Forecast, and links to the TSW website.
Ted Spence, CEWF Chair and CCRAI Board Member