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Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site of Canada

Water Level Management Update

Is your dam wide open?
You may notice that not all dams you see are wide open, but Parks Canada is moving as much water downstream as possible. The dams on the system are not of uniform capacity and there are many factors to consider, such as hydro generating stations that also pass water, and natural bottlenecks. In addition, it takes multiple days for water to move through the system, and upstream dam operations need to be coordinated with those downstream.

April 17, 2014 - If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.

Parks Canada's water management team continues to actively monitor water levels, snow conditions and weather forecasts on a daily basis across the watersheds. We are making real-time decisions that inform dam operations. The strategy for dam operations to manage levels is adjusted on a daily basis as the spring melt runs its course.

For information regarding flood planning or protecting your home or property, please contact your local municipality.

For more information regarding the flood status and what to expect in your area, please visit the website of your local conservation authority. These are Kawartha Conservation, Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, Ganaraska Conservation Authority, Lower Trent Region Conservation AuthoritySimcoe Lake Region Conservation Authority or, in all other areas of the Trent and Severn Watersheds, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.


In the Haliburton area, Greg with Parks Canada manually reads a water gauge.

© Parks Canada

Haliburton and Northern Areas
Areas to the north still have snow on the ground. Parks Canada brought reservoir lake levels down in the Fall of last year in order to accommodate the spring melt and average rainfall. They are currently at 74% of their overall storage capacity. As a result, Parks Canada staff have begun reinstalling stop logs into dams to prepare for the upcoming summer season.

Talbot, Lake Simcoe and Severn River
Water flow in the Talbot area of the Trent-Severn Waterway remains high but flows into the upstream lakes are beginning to slow.

The Black River that flows into the Severn River is an unmanaged inflow. Cold weather has slowed the Black River in the last couple of days but there has been very little snow melt in the northern areas of this river.

The Severn River represents a bottleneck for flows out of Lakes Simcoe and Couchiching. Since the outflows are so small relative to the size of the lakes, it takes a number of days to make an impact through local watershed dam operations on lake levels. Lake Simcoe has been filling through inflows from the Talbot River. Flows out of Lake Simcoe will increase as flows out of the Black River are slow, to move water out of the system and into Georgian Bay.

Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough and Otonabee
Inflows caused by snow melt and rain continue to impact the Kawartha Lakes, however they have decreased in the last two days. Residents may see Parks Canada employees reducing flows in some of these upper lakes to help stabilise water levels downstream.

High water flows continue out of the Mississauga River into Lower Buckhorn Lake and water levels in the Kawartha Lakes above Peterborough remain high. But lower inflows and water management operations in the upper Kawartha Lakes will begin to have a positive impact in this area.

Rice Lake and Lower Trent
Water levels in the lower Otonabee River, Rice Lake and the Trent River remain high, however reduced inflows in the upper Kawartha Lakes in the last couple of days will soon translate into decreased flows in downstream areas in the next week.