2011 water management study

Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site

Parks Canada commissioned the 2011 Water Management Study in response to a recommendation of the Panel on the Future of the Trent-Severn Waterway. It is an independent study of water management practices in the Trent-Severn watershed. Its recommendations focus on achieving and balancing broad water management goals with a higher level of complexity.

AECOM 2011 report

The AECOM 2011 report is comprised of four volumes:

Vol 1: Data collection and management guide

This component focuses primarily on the collection of data to facilitate sound water management decisions and practices. It has identified 9 operational variables as well as 32 constraint variables. The variable sections describe how these data would be useful and where these data can be acquired.

Vol 2: Review of water management systems and models

The systems analysis has been completed with the desire to seek out a comparative analog to the Trent-Severn Waterway.

The study found a number of similarities between the Trent-Severn Waterway and the four other systems that were reviewed and provided insight as to how advancement in these systems could be utilized on the Waterway to more effectively manage the system.

The study provides some insight into cost and scope of the various software packages. The modelling section ends without a clear picture of what model would be best suited to implement on the Waterway, given its complexities.

Vol 3: Water management manual

This component of the study provides an overview of the existing operation. It has provided an overview of how water management is implemented on the basis of existing water management studies previously completed. These studies have formed the foundation for how operations are currently managed.

The manual summarizes water management both by seasonality and geography.

This component also focused on highlighting how the system has evolved over time and how new technology has been introduced over the years in order to modernize operations. Case study analysis was completed, focusing on how high flow and low flow years have been dealt with historically.

Vol 4: Evaluation of the current approach to water management

The evaluation focuses on assessing current operations and making recommendation on how to improve water management. Broadly speaking, the evaluation concentrated on climate change, the natural environment, impacts, and development of a management process.

To request a copy of the 2011 Water Management Study please contact the Director's Office of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Thank you.


Several recommendations were submitted on how new constraints could be introduced in order to optimize the current operating regime.

Operational management process recommendations

  • Expand and revise the role of the current water control group
  • Enhance freshet forecasting procedures
  • Increase functional control in the Haliburton reservoirs
  • Enhance the collection of operational data
  • Develop a hydrologic model for runoff forecasting
  • Develop a hydraulic model to improve system operations
  • Develop operational protocols for high- and low-water conditions
  • Increase communication of operational activities

Constraint management process recommendations

  • Establish a goals and objectives committee and study team
  • Identify goal-specific requirements
  • Establish management ranges for all lakes and reservoirs
  • Establish adaptive management protocols to revise management
  • Ranges as conditions evolve

Our on-going commitment to water management

The 2011 Water Management Study offers some valuable information that will serve Parks Canada well in the continued development of the Trent-Severn Waterway's water management program.

  • Parks Canada established an independent Water Management Advisory Council in 2011 in response to a recommendation of the Panel on the Future of the Trent-Severn Waterway. This council provides expert and stakeholder advice to achieve broad water management goals throughout the Trent-Severn watershed. The Water Management Advisory Council has reviewed this study and has provided broad endorsement.
  • Since receiving the report, Parks Canada has analysed the report and has implemented a number of its recommendations. For example:
    • Parks Canada has created two new water management technician positions to enhance its water management program.
    • Parks Canada has installed more automated water monitoring stations.
    • Parks Canada has improved its Water management website to communicate more effectively with the public and offer ongoing updated data for all stakeholders.
  • Parks Canada uses discharge tables from its dams to determine water allocations and meet program objectives that reflect longstanding operational, historic, and legal obligations. Parks Canada will review options with others to develop a hydrologic model for run-off forecasting and collaborate in support of broader regional forecasting.

Water management on the Trent-Severn Waterway is a complex process. While focusing on providing safe water levels for navigation along the marked navigation channel, the water management program seeks to balance many values such as:

  • Protection of significant aquatic habitat and species
  • Support of municipal services
  • Hydroelectric generation
  • Assistance in the maintenance of water quality
  • Flood mitigation of shoreline property

To receive a full copy of the 2011 Water Management Study, please contact us.

Date modified :