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Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada

Parks Canada: on the job, managing water for you

Flood watches and warnings have been issued for multiple jurisdictions in Ontario, and the women and men of Parks Canada are going above and beyond the call of duty to respond quickly to the water level increases. In addition, Parks Canada has allocated additional team members to assist in dam operations and inspections, and communications with all responsible jurisdictions.

Last year and this year, flooding in Ontario has gone well beyond the waters managed by Parks Canada. Our priority in times like this is to be out on the ground, and we redouble our year-round efforts during the spring freshet which can see increased flows in the canals due to snow melt and spring rains.

Dieter with Parks Canada reads a manual water gauge on Percy Lake.
© Parks Canada

Parks Canada has a proven track record in managing water. In fact, last year an independent study which reviewed the actions taken by Parks Canada in relation to the flooding in the Minden Hills area concluded: "The management staff at the Trent-Severn Waterway did an exemplary job. Other alternative water management decisions would not have led to a reduced overall flooding."

Again this year, managed water systems along the canals are being aggressively controlled and monitored in order to move tremendous amounts of water through the system to mitigate effects from the colossal amount of water travelling throughout Ontario at this time. Reservoir lakes are being filled as necessary, dam operations are happening daily, and over the course of the next few weeks, levels will begin to stabilize.

We will continue to work collaboratively with officials in municipalities, conservation authorities, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. Parks Canada manages water in its jurisdiction year round, similar to how water is also actively managed around us by Conservation Authorities, the Province and even Hydro operators in Ontario’s interconnected system of lakes and rivers.

Some Parks Canada dams are operated manually. Pictured here is Greg taking care of a stop log in the Haliburton area.
© Parks Canada

Parks Canada, with 100% federal funding, makes significant investments in the Trent Severn Waterway’s water management infrastructure and personnel. Parks Canada is committed to work in partnership with others to ensure Canada's historic canal waterways meet their potential as world class sites, vibrant and animated.
Our partners in municipalities and the Province are responsible for flood preparedness and education, declaring states of public emergency, and supplying provisions for emergency situations. We support them by providing information related to our water management activities.

The Government of Canada has made record investments to essential waterways infrastructure like dam replacements, bridge and lock repairs, so that visitors can continue to enjoy Parks Canada sites safely.

Our teams are working hard for the benefit of all living on and around Ontario’s Heritage Waterways.