TSW Water Management Update – June 2/21

Drought and low water levels in many reservoirs continue.
Under extremely dry conditions low water levels are persisting in some reservoir areas and in flow through lakes and river sections. In particular reservoirs in the northern Gull River; Kennisis, Hawk, Halls, and Kushog; in the Maple Lake branch; Oblong, and Redstone; and in the northern Central Lakes; Crystal and Eels; all are experiencing levels that are well below normal.
With no relief in the weather forecast Trent-Severn Water Management team will continue integrated water management across the entire Trent Basin with water conservation measures in place in all sectors.


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Rainfall amounts for March-May have contributed to  40-55 % less precipitation compared to the long term mean value for spring season. The month of May contributed to values that are less than 50-75 mm than the long term mean.  The 10 day forecast suggests a transition to high temperatures approaching 30C. There is less than 5 mm of rain in this week precipitation forecast.  Most of the rainfall forecasted is associated with thunderstorms and could be highly variable from one location to another.


The spring of 2021 has presented a unique set of challenges for the water management program of the Waterway.  The early melt and exceedingly dry conditions resulted in the minimal flows experienced since early April until present across the system and the low levels in all flow-through lakes. The dry conditions resulted in additional strain on some of the Haliburton Reservoirs more than others.  Every effort is made to ensure that water management decisions are carefully considered, acknowledging Parks Canada’s responsibility to balance the needs of all users in the system.

The Trent Severn Water Management team is active on the daily basis, and the changing conditions will be closely monitored. Any watershed condition updates will be released by your Conservation Authority or local Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources district.

Haliburton and Northern Areas

Most lakes are near or below long term average water levels. The Gull River reservoirs are 87% full. Burnt River reservoirs are 95% full. The Central Reservoirs are 94% full. Flows on the Gull River have been at their minimum flows starting early April. Burnt River flows remain at their minimum flows beginning in early May.  

Kawartha Lakes and the Otonabee River

The Kawartha Lakes are below average. The dam in Lindsay, controlling the levels on Lake Scugog, has all logs in. Otonabee River flows have been reduce to minimum. 

Rice Lake and the Lower Trent

Rice Lake is below the average water levels and the Lower Trent river reaches remain in the standard navigable ranges.

Severn River

Lake Simcoe water levels are below average. The outflows from Lake Simcoe are minimal.  Black River flows are below average and approaching minimal flows for this time of the year. Severn River flows have been reduced to minimum. Flow changes may continue depending on the rainfall received. Lake St. John is at summer set.