Monday, 11 April 2016

Muskoka Lakes – we have a problem

Climate Change
Phil Harding, Councillor
 added 4 new photos.
2 hrs
Flood, Mistakes, Muskoka River Water Management Plan, Lawsuits, Damage - all trending topics. In an effort to help provide my opinion on this - please read below and feel free to copy or repost to help get the word out.
The simplest explanation I can offer is that “the plan” (Muskoka River Water Management Plan- MRWMP) is flawed. It was set up 10 years ago with data from 20 years ago to manage the 200 plus Km of water shed from Algonquin park all running out through Lake Muskoka and the Moon River. To understand the issues even more, there are 42 dams across this 5,100 sq. Km of water shed with 78,000 hectares of lakes. Again all exiting through Lake Muskoka and the Moon River.
The Plan in its current form (because of some of the physical limitations of the water shed) does not allow for the severity of weather Muskoka is experiencing. And by limitations, let me explain it this way. The water shed is a bathtub. And the size of the drain in the bathtub sets the flow or amount of water that can be moved through the system. There are several physical constraints to the water shed, for example on the Moon River,the area known as "The Chutes" can only handle water flowing at a rate of about 280 cubic meters per second (cms). Water coming into Bala Bay, is restricted to 300 cms. The dam at Bala however can accommodate 400 cms. And as there are several other “choke points” in the system, when significant rains happen up stream – bottom line they can’t move the water through the system fast enough and the entire system (all 200 plus Km) backs up.
On April 2nd, according to published data, lakes up stream on our water shed had risen considerably. As a point of reference. Fox Lake rose 40 cm in 24 hours. Forest Lake 54 cm. Tea Lake 20 cm. Big East Lake 24.5cm, Oxtongue 22.7 cm. These are all lakes NORTH of Lake Muskoka and The Moon River. By comparison, Lake Rosseau only rose 9 cm. And Lake Muskoka 11 cm. This demonstrates that the rise of water Up Stream – eventually comes down stream where we get impacted. And the physical constraints of the system do not allow for the water to move quickly enough when significant rains happen.

Now the real problem. Telling the Province and the Liberal Government that their Plan (MRWMP) is not appropriate for 2016 and beyond. One of the contributing factors to the plan (as approved by the Province) is to produce hydro power as there are 11 Hydro Plants along the water shed. The more water in the system, the more hydro that is produced. Though they attempt to regulate the system to balance all – unfortunately in the past 5 years in particular, again with the severity of weather, the current MRWMP – though it does provide energy and money for the hydro plants, as you and I know, these high water levels and floods cause significant damage to the properties down stream.
So the challenge at hand is to demonstrate to the Province that by adjusting the watershed, removing physical constraints and even at times lowering the water levels beyond the current MRWMP will in fact be more beneficial for all of Ontario and Muskoka.
Once again - the current Muskoka River Water Management Plan is flawed based on the current environment caused by climate change. 
This, and this alone is the message we need to send to QueensPark. 
I hope this helps.
Phil Harder
FYI - Here is a link to the current MRWMP


Bill Nicholls said...

We have problems with flooding here in the UK, it's called global warming. If you live near a river then expect to get flooded, you can't go looking for someone to blame if you moved there you should be aware what could happen.

William Kendall said...

Sounds like a lot of headaches.