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Water Level Update MLA as of May 2

Date: 02-May-2019


MARY LAKE ASSOCIATION- Water Level Report for Thursday May 2, 2019

The ice is off the lake. There'll be varying opinions, but we think the last of it was seen early in the afternoon yesterday, Wednesday May 1. This is a day earlier than last year.
Unfortunately, the late ice-out combined with high water and north-easterly winds led to serious damage to a number of docks and boathouses along the Village shore and up the east side past Clyffe House and Raymond's Bluff. 
Sadly, some places were damaged just a few hours before the ice disappeared.
Several boathouses on the river above the dam were also hit by cakes of ice propelled inexorably by a very swift current.
With the dams along the system wide open, our level together with the levels of lakes above and below us continues to drop. Mary Lake is dropping at a rate of about 7cm, or a shade under 3 inches per day. Absent significant rain, and unless the MNRF begins re-logging the Port Sydney dam, we should get back toward a 'normal' spring flood level in about a week. But as of today the water is still well over most docks.
As the accompanying chart (from January 1 to today) shows, we're down about 30cm or a foot from the crest of the flood. 
Also in the chart we can see that from the record low drawdown of April 1, the lake rose 1.57 metres or 5 feet 2 inches to the peak flood level. No one remembers anything this dramatic in the past, but it should be noted that the flood of 2013 is a close second. Two big ones in six years, both triggered by super-saturated snow in Algonquin Park.

In our April 27 Water Level Report we discussed the possibility that we've entered a 'new normal' in which dramatic flooding is much more frequent. 
This may well lead to a review of the Muskoka Watershed Water Management Plan which governs much of what the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry does. Power generation companies' demands on the system -they like to have an upstream reserve of water- will also face scrutiny.
Indeed, the Mayor of Muskoka Lakes has demanded (and gotten) a meeting with the Premier to discuss the matter. It is to be hoped that other area municipal officials will show a similar concern.
The Mary Lake Association will seek to participate in any review of water management policies affecting our lake and river.

Ted Johnson
Water Levels Chair


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