THE LEVEL OF THE LAKE THIS YEAR at July 22, 2020
The level of Lake Scugog is very low for this time of year; almost to the lowest level recorded. Low lake levels happened in 2012, then in 2016 and now in 2020. We are experiencing a severe drought. It may or may not last the entire summer, but it is already taking our lake level down to conditions that worry people around the lake. (To check the level regularly, see Trent Seven Water Levels https://www.pc.gc.ca/apps/waterlevels/donnees-data?Id=110&lang=en&siteId=100419) It is established by a daily recording at the Caesarea pier and sent automatically to headquarters at the Trent Severn Waterway. You can see the level is now well below the desired 250 m. above sea level. The dam now closed and sealed totally and has been for some time. Remember that if there is one log out at the dam, that it would take weeks to drain our 68 sq. mile, 4 ft deep lake.
Apparent climate cycle:
What is strange is that this climatic condition seems to repeat itself every four years; but what is also strange is that as in the past, this condition may be relatively local. Other areas are experiencing normal or only slightly less rainfall. Above is an historic lack of rainfall chart which indicated that in 2016 the Lake Scugog watershed was singular in the area for experiencing the worst drought conditions or Level 3. (See the central red area on the map.) That appears to be what is happening this year too, with normal conditions at the more northern lakes such as near Bobcaygeon, Port Severn, Chandos Lake and more.
While it is convenient to blame mismanagement of the dam at Lindsay, it is impossible to stockpile water in Lake Scugog in the spring at the dam to be available for later months such as this. The reasons for this is discussed on our website under “OTHER PROJECTS: Dam and Lock at Lindsay.” (https://scugoglakestewards.com/other-projects/the-operation-of-the-dam-at-lindsay/ However, there may be other management issues that should be followed up on later this year, all of which is difficult in these Covid-19 times with many furloughed staff.
Current weather accelerates evaporation in the lake to almost a centimeter a day when the (Information from the former TSW water management engineer) water water is warm, the sun hot and it has been very windy. You can see from the very recent graph that the water level is what it would normally be at the end of August. The dam in Lindsay is not just closed but sealed to stop any outflow from the upstream. If you want to communicate with the Trent Severn Waterway for any questions, you would do that through 1-888-773-8888 or through Ont.TrentSevern@pc.gc.ca.
One additional consideration is that because of various reasons that range from the decomposition of an increased aquatic plant growth, to increased sedimentation from both runoff from the land and increased air borne dirt, the lake is filling in faster than expected. This, of course, causes less navigational depth both in the lake but especially at the shorelines.
We all have to hope that our current drought trend is short lived. More to come as the season progresses.