Saturday February 16, 2019

Water Levels – Response from Parks Canada

The attached letter is the response we received from Dawn Bronson, the Field Superintendent for Park Canada. Although I don’t expect any significant change in either Parks Canada’s water management policies, they have at least taken some steps to fill the lakes to a better level, albeit mostly with the assistance of all the rain we have had.  My response to her is that we still believe that the formula for drawdown needs to change.  Here is what she said to us: 

Dear Ms. Russell,
Thank you for your letter of June 3 regarding regulation of water levels on
Halls, Big Hawk and Little Hawk Lakes.  I appreciate the perspective that
you and the shoreline residents bring.

I am conscious that many of the Haliburton reservoir lakes are low
including those lakes that your association represents.  This condition is
the direct result of a winter and spring season that saw a virtually
non-existent spring freshet and record or near record low precipitation
levels through the early part of spring.

We are very aware of your message about water conservation and your
recommendation to not draw waters from the Haliburton reservoirs until
needed on the Trent Severn Waterway.  This year, due to the difficult
spring conditions, Parks Canada put into practice reduced the flows through
the lower Gull River to conserve water in the reservoirs.  As well, Parks
Canada staff has kept the navigable lakes on the Waterway filled at the top
end of the range with available precipitation in order to lessen, as much
as possible, reliance on the reservoir lakes.  You should be aware that
these management actions did carry negative impacts, particularly on the
flow-through lakes such as Shadow which is dependent on ongoing flows to
maintain levels.  As you know, managing water for a variety of needs and a
variety of users presents ongoing challenges.

As the summer proceeds, Parks Canada will need to use the reservoir lakes
in order to maintain navigable levels on the Waterway as per our mandate.
We can anticipate some additional challenges as we face a forecasted hot
and dry summer.

As you may be aware, the Trent Severn Waterway has established a Water
Management Advisory Council.  I would like to share your letter with this
council, along with this response as it will assist them in understanding
the various perspectives that exist around the waterway with respect to
water management issues.

Again, thank you very much for your letter.

Dawn Bronson
Central Ontario Field Unit Superintendent /Directrice, Unité de gestion du
centre de l’Ontario
PO Box 567, 2155 Ashburnham Drive/CP 567, 2155 promenade Ashburnham
Peterborough, Ontario K9J 6Z6
(705) 750-4919
(705) 750- 4934 Fax