SOUTH DUNDAS – After deviating from the controversial water management plan for several months to help prevent flooding on Lake Ontario, Plan 2014 has come back into effect.
The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board, which manages water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to Cornwall made the announcement on May 29th.
The ILOSLR board received authority to drain more water out of Lake Ontario over the winter months to help prevent flooding this spring on that Lake. This lead to extreme low water levels after Christmas on St. Lawrence River and Lake St. Lawrence along the South Dundas and South Stormont waterfronts.
The high outflows through the Moses-Saunders and Long Sault Control Dams did help with water levels on Lake Ontario. After assessing the situation, the ILOSLR board returned to following the Plan 2014 management plan.
“The peak level of Lake Ontario is still well above average, but was reduced by 18 cm owing to deviations from Plan 2014,” said the board.
If the lower water levels are too low on Lake St. Lawrence, the board says it will act to augment those low water levels.
The ILOSLR warned that declining levels on Lake Ontario, along with high outflows through the Cornwall dams under Plan 2014 mean that water levels will continue to be “very low” on the lake for several months to come.
“This will be the fourth straight summer of well-below-average levels of Lake St. Lawrence, which responds much more rapidly and significantly to increases in outflows than the much larger Lake Ontario upstream,” said the board. It added that if there had not been a deviation from Plan 2014, Lake St. Lawrence would be approximately 14 cm higher currently.
During a May 22 teleconference, the board agreed to use excess water from Lake Ontario to maintain Lake St. Lawrence above 73 metres until after the Labour Day long weekend for recreational users of the lake.