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Current Conditions Statement
for the Tay Waterway

    The following statement summarises current conditions in the Tay waterway between Bobs Lake and Port Elmsley.

    May 31, 2021
    Water levels along the Tay waterway have been substantially below historic levels since late January - and, in most sectors, close to their minimum historic levels for this time of year. This would indicate that the waterway is not well-situated to meet the normally dry summer season ahead, without considerable precipitation, which has been well below average this year to date. Sectors displaying the most apparent low levels are Christie Lake and the Town of Perth. These are also the most vulnerable to significant level changes - the lake because of cottage properties and local roads and the town for its dependence on the river for water supply.

    This is a considerable turnaround from the exceptionally high watershed levels late last year. At that time, Christie Lake was above its historic average high, while Parks Canada was allowing Bobs Lake to remain at its normal level.

    In May 2021, the two waterway sectors located above Parks Canada dams (Bobs Lake and Beveridge Lock Dam) are being held at close to their normal historic levels, despite the need for water downstream. Levels along the Tay River between Christie Lake and Perth, and Port Elmsley bridge, have been unusually low for this time of year. This has potential to impact the general environment, including wildlife habitat, in addition to limiting use by residents - and even some recreation access, at a time when encouraging 'getting out' would seem a priority for government.

    Tay Waterway Readings by Location, Late May 2021, including Tay Net Watchers
    Electronic Water Level or Flow Gauge Sites:
    Bobs Lake Dam, Bolingbroke - close to historic average level; slight trend down Christie Lake exit - close to the minimum historic average level, trending down Perth Haggart Island - 70% below historic average flow Beveridge Locks - is being maintained at historic average level Tay Net Monitoring Sites - Low to extremely low levels: Bathurst Concession Two Bridge; Bowes Road Bridge; 471 Christie Lake Road Bridge; Rogers Road Bridge; Beckwith Bridge; Craig Street Bridge; Port Elmsley Bridge.

    December 14, 2020
    Water levels in the Tay waterway between Bobs Lake and Port Elmsley have been unusually high due to rain in the Fall and then melting snow in early December. The obvious exception is Bobs Lake, where levels have been held consistently at ‘normal’ (that is, the historic average) since July, despite increased flow from one main source, Eagle Lake.
    Christie Lake on the other hand, just below Bobs Lake, has been at the historic maximum levels since August, dipping only briefly in November before returning to maximum this month. Immediately downstream from there, levels are close to the highs experienced last spring (and, also, the unusual January flood). This is the same just above Perth.
    The flow into Perth has usually been above historic average since August, and on December 13th was 40% above historic average. This should reduce with the colder weather arriving in mid-December, however, as noted above, there remains a substantial amount of water upstream. Below Perth, Port Elmsley level (124.11m) is the highest since spring (124.37m) and last January flood (124.33m) Note: the readings are metres above sea level.

    September 1, 2020
    Following the major rainfall on August 29th, water levels and flow in most areas of the waterway again increased, with the biggest impact at Perth (flow increased from 6.7cms to over 9. The historic average is 4.9). Bobs Lake level moved above its historic average but is well below its 'maximum'. Eagle Lake had increased substantially but is trending down. Christie Lake continues to increase, above its maximum. Downstream from Christie Lake, including Perth and below, levels remain high; at many locations just below spring peaks.

    August 28, 2020
    As anticipated, water levels and flow along the waterway have continued to drop following the substantial rain and resultant increases earlier in August. In particular, Bobs Lake and Christie Lake have dropped considerably, but Christie Lake still remains above its historic maximum level. The level at Bobs Lake is slightly above the historic average. The flow at Perth is still high, at 6.8 cubic metres per second (cms), which is 50% above the historic average of 4.5 cms. In the past, water levels along the Tay waterway have dropped continuously from early fall. For current and recent water levels and flows at selected sites on the waterway, see the links to electronic gauges below.

    * Qualification of Statements:
    This statement is based on information provided by the association's network of 'Tay Net' reporters and by data on the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority website and Parks Canada website. Because online flow data was withdrawn for the Bolingbroke Dam in 2018 by Parks Canada, and waterway conditions can change rapidly, the association is unable to take responsibility for the accuracy of the data and statements.

    Click here for a description of the Tay Net Waterway Reporting Program.

Streamflow and Water Levels
for the Tay Waterway

    The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) posts streamflow and water level data in the Rideau Valley Watershed. The RVCA provides this near real time data "to give the viewer an indication of continuous stream conditions in the watershed and to make the public aware of potential flood or drought conditions".

    Monitored sites that fall within the boundary of the Tay River Watershed are shown below.

Location Daily Data Hourly Data
Tay River at Perth Click Here for daily mean flows over latest month ~ Perth Click Here for hourly level & flows ~ Perth
Tay River at Bolingbroke Parks Canada removed public access to this information as of April 8, 2019 Parks Canada removed public access to this information as of April 8, 2019
Water Levels:    
Bobs Lake at Bolingbroke Click here for current daily mean level Click here for hourly level 
Christie Lake Click here for current daily mean level Not available

Eagle Lake, RKY Camp

Click here for the past day, week and month level level
~ Click on Graphs tab

Not available
Tay Canal at Beveridge Locks Click here for current daily mean level  Not available

Elevations & Distances for Selected Tay Waterway Locations

Source: Rideau Valley Conservation Authority "Tay River Subwatershed Report 2017"

Elevations & Distances for Selected Rideau Canal Locations




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