Water Level Task Force (WLTF)

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Reports to Members

  • May, 18 2017

    Going into the Victoria Day long weekend, MNRF has, as of Tuesday afternoon, removed all Food Watch / Warning notifications for our watershed.  Water levels are approaching normal for this time of year.  Lake Muskoka could reach summer target by the weekend.  Lakes Rosseau and Joseph could reach normal Spring levels by the weekend. Drawdown in Bala Bay suggests that Bala Reach water levels will recede below flood level by week’s end.  Please appreciate these are educated guesses; are very rough, and for general guidance only.  Events such as the predicted 25mm of rain in the watershed on Sunday will have a negative impact on our water levels.  As freshet is now past, this will be the last weekly newsletter for this year.

  • May, 05 2017

    Spring Freshet is not over. Heavy rainfall at the end of last week has partially reversed recent lake level reductions for Lake Muskoka and completely reversed them for Lakes Rosseau and Joseph. Levels are again at or above Spring high and projected to rise significantly again with major 40 to 70mm rainfall forecast for Friday.  MNRF has issued a Flood Warning for entire Muskoka River watershed in advance of this rain.  

  • Apr, 27 2017

    Since last Sunday a number of dry days has allowed lake levels to crest and start declining. The drawdown rate is slow and ranging from 1 to 2 cm per day for Lakes Muskoka, Rosseau and Joseph. Significant rainfall forecast for this weekend has the potential to erase part of the drainage gain made this week.

  • Apr, 21 2017

    A persistent series of rain events has moved the Muskoka Lakes up to flood level over the past week. All except the highest docks are now underwater. With significant rain falling and predicted for the balance of today - April 20th, levels will increase again. A long stretch of dry days are now needed to allow levels to peak and then begin to diminish.  As of today – April 20th- the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry [MNRF] reiterated its Flood Watch for the District of Muskoka and extended its Flood Warning for the Moon River/Bala Reach to include the North and South Branches of the Muskoka River.  Members are advised to act to mitigate damage from submergence and wave action.  

  • Apr, 13 2017

    Moving into the second half of April, extreme rainfall remains the sole risk for flooding of the Muskoka Lakes.  Lake levels remain normal for this time of year but are rising in response to a 40mm rainfall and runoff from earlier this week. Levels above Spring normal are possible by next week due to predicted 25mm rainfall this weekend. The snow is gone, except in Algonquin Park, and the ground is thawing.  Ice is mostly out in the lakes. Longer term prediction of precipitation effects remains difficult. As of yesterday the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry [MNRF] has a Flood Warning in effect for the Moon River/Bala Reach.  Members continue to be advised to be prepared for high water due to potential rain and Bala Reach is advised to prepare for imminent flooding.

  • Apr, 07 2017

    Moving into the second week of April, extreme rainfall remains the sole risk for flooding and Environment Canada has just issued a rainfall alert for this Thursday.  Total rainfall amounts of 20 to 35 mm are now expected in the watershed by Friday night.  Last week’s rain and melt has now reduced the snow pack to below normal levels, so the risk of flooding from snow melt is further reduced from last week.  Lake levels are now normal for this time of year but are rising rapidly in response to rainfall and runoff from earlier this week.  Predictions of precipitation effects remain difficult.  The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry [MNRF] has posted Flood Outlooks for rivers in the watershed including the Muskoka River and the Moon River/Bala Reach.  Members at these locations continue to be advised to be prepared for high water due to potential rain.

  • Mar, 31 2017

    Entering April, the recent rain and melt has reduced the snow pack to near normal levels, so drawdown requirements and risk of flooding from snow melt are reduced from last week. Lake levels are now approximately 10 to 15 cm [4 to 6”] higher than the target low water level but significantly below normal summer water levels.  Slightly warmer temperatures will contribute to gradual melting of the remaining snow, and could pave the way for a normal Spring freshet. However, precipitation amounts remain the major risk factor over the next week with significant rainfalls predicted.

  • Mar, 23 2017

    Very aggressive drawdown of lake levels by MNRF is producing significantly lower water levels but these levels are still higher than the required drawdown level for this time of year and snow conditions.  As we near the end of March, weather systems are volatile and even the weather forecasters are challenged with predictions. Rain is predicted over the next few days posing an additional risk to the melting snow from warmer air temperatures over the next week which we expect will result in the lake levels rising again before they reach the target.    Members are advised to be prepared for high water.

  • Mar, 17 2017

    Cooler weather and continued water level drawdown by MNRF have reduced the risk of flooding for this week…. water levels are still above the required drawdown level for this time of year but long term weather forecast - daytime highs just above freezing but overnight below freezing - should allow for continued drawdown of the water levels. 

  • Mar, 10 2017

    Your MLA Water Level Task Force has been keeping a close eye on precipitation and lake water levels all winter long, as well as lobbying the MNRF for needed change.

WLTF documents

Filename Type Size Date
278.83 kB
2019 May 13
825.72 kB
2017 October 26
481.31 kB
2017 October 26
40.71 kB
2017 February 28
520.09 kB
2017 February 15
126.46 kB
2016 June 24
123.77 kB
2016 June 15
77.34 kB
2016 April 20
73.18 kB
2013 October 22

Current MNRF Flood Statement

Filename Type Size Date
3.32 MB
2017 May 04
  • What does the MLA Water Level Task Force do?

    We work overtime on your behalf meeting with governments officials in order to endure the flooding that continues to happen on the lakes doesn't happen again.

    For more information on our Task Force you can email waterlevels@mla.on.ca

  • Have you met with local governments?

    Yes, the Task Force has met with four Muskoka Townships, District of Muskoka Chair John Klinck, the Muskoka Watershed Council, Federal and Provincial MPs, the Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations (FOCA) and the most influential, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). At each of these meetings, we have raised our concerns and presented our recommended plan of action.

  • What is your request of the MNRF?
    1. Lower water levels in Lake Muskoka, Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph to the lower limits of their respective Normal Operating Zones by March 15th each year, until new acceptable Muskoka River Water Management Plan (MRWMP) is implemented.
    2. Initiate a process to revise the MRWMP as soon as possible.
    3. Allow the MLA to be one of the participating parties to create the new MRWMP.
  • What is the flood Damage Survey?

    We circulated a survey in spring 2016 designed for Muskoka (summer) residents to incorporate any damages estimates to their waterfront properties. In six weeks, we collected 1038 surveys. 

  • Is there anything else I can do to support the MLA Water Level Task Force?

    Yes, many of you will be attending your local road, bay or island association meetings, re-connecting with neighbours and your Muskoka friends over the summer. The MLA needs your support. We need a larger member base to have a stronger voice at Queen's Park and with the MNRF. Please encourage your friends and neighbours to join the MLA. It's not expensive and simple to join.

    Also if you have pictures of structure or shoreline damage you would like to share, please email lisa@mla.on.ca