Open Letter: Water Levels in the TSW

Sent to Lakefield Herald, July 3/09:

The Coalition for Equitable Water Flow-Haliburton Sector, TSW (CEWF) represents approximately 40,000 waterfront property owners on the reservoir and flow through (RAFT) lakes for the Trent portion of the TSW.
The CEWF has been accused of "seeking to eliminate the legal minimum 6 foot draft in the waterway, as one way to retain more water in their lakes".  This is a completely erroneous statement. 
Nowhere is our written submissions to Ecoplans Limited (Consultants for Parks Canada) and the Panel on the Future of the TSW (available at do we make such a statement.  

Although the lake association delegates to the CEWF are aware of our position, there are always a few property owners who are not familiar with the operation of the TSW who voice their incorrect opinion that a lowering of the draft is the solution to water retention in the Haliburton Sector lakes.  Those of us who have been working daily on this project for over 5 years now are very conscious of the fact that many of the southern lakes are shallow and could not tolerate a water level reduction of any significance.
Most RAFT lake property owners are also aware that their property is on a lake intended to be drawn down to support the operation of the TSW Corridor, however, it is not just the TSW that is causing the loss of water up here.  Hundreds of thousands of litres daily are drawn from the Trent Watershed system for municipal water supply, sewage treatment, commercial and industrial purposes through water taking permits issued by Ontario's Ministry of Environment.  The demand for water is quickly exceeding the supply especially when coupled with climate change.  We have seen the decline of water levels occuring faster and much earlier in the season in the last decade.
The CEWF has a great deal of respect for the TSW staff who operate this complex system without adequate funding, staff and clear government legislation.  We enjoy an excellent working relationship with them.  If we want to see the TSW thrive, it is long past time to provide it with the tools to do so.  The Panel Report, It's All About the Water is, in the opinion of the CEWF, the foundation upon which to build an integrated water management program that is fair and just for all stakeholders.  We need to work together if the future of the TSW is to be ensured for the benefit of all for the next 100 years.
I and/or any member of the CEWF Advisory Committee have offered to speak to groups like the Kawartha Parks Cottagers Association and Voices for the TSW.  We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions anyone might have regarding the role of the Coalition.
It is time to put to rest the "us against them" attitude to help restore, preserve and conserve the entire TSW for generations to come.  There has never been a better opportunity.