Low Water Everywhere!!

Iain Gorman forwarded me some correspondence he received regarding low lake levels in the region.

It is duplicated below, in Italics,

First though, an explainer….

TSW is the “Trent Severn Waterway”, that connects Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay

CEWF is “The Coalition for Equitable Water Flow”. It is a coalition of 32 Member Lake Associations (does not include CLPOA) which represents 91% of the Trent Severn Waterway’s (TSW’s) reservoir lake storage capacity and covers the sub-watersheds of the Gull, Burnt & Mississauga rivers plus Nogies, Eel’s & Jack’s creeks. In total, the Coalition represents the interests of 35,000+ shoreline property owners in the “Haliburton Sector” of the Trent watershed, which includes 35 reservoir and several flow-through (RaFT) lakes in Haliburton County and northern Peterborough County. The purpose is to provide an integrated approach to the management of lake levels. All these lakes are essentially “reservoir lakes”, that are used to maintain navigation levels in the Trent Severn Waterway. So draining any particular lake needs to be done “equitably”.

We are fortunate that Chandos is an unregulated lake (no dam), and is in the Crowe Valley watershed.

Here is Iain’s note:
LOW WATER LEVELS: (From Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt)


Egads! I’ve checked in with our friends at CEWF for details beyond what I know and:
* TSW last week added logs to many dams to capture the expected rainfall and runoff but if you were comparing your weather app with your weather window this weekend you know we didn’t get what was forecast;
* There’s been a 50% shortfall in spring rains so far with temperatures above normal;
* The freshet was almost non-existent, certainly in comparison with recent years!
* There have been some inconsistencies in usual runoff patterns meaning how lakes usually fill up isn’t happening;
* TSW captured the snowmelt runoff as evidenced by low flows through Minden for last several weeks but there was less freshet flow than normal and a very early peak.
* The Upper Gull (that’s us here in AH) is only 70% full
* Kennisis, Hawk and Kushog need water and dams are closed off but operations at Red Pine and Nunakani this week will see those lakes come up;
* The Maple chain (flow through lakes) is very low – and is one example of the inconsistent runoff patterns noted above;

* More folks being up north when they normally wouldn’t be means more eyes and more concerns BUT it’s 6 weeks until May 24th when it’s expected that the whole system will be full
* The forecast seems to be for more normal temperatures and rainfall so fingers crossed for that
* TSW is highly aware, monitoring it all very closely and working hard within some highly unusual constraints
Bottom line:

Lakes are unusually low.
Spring pulled a fast one in terms of historical melts and inflows.
Dams are closed up.
Rain is in the forecast.
There’s 6 weeks until May 24

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