Water Levels – High, Low or Normal?

After last year’s remarkably low water levels in the Parry Sound region of Georgian Bay this year has seen a welcome rebound. The question now is whether the levels are still low, somewhat high, or perhaps ‘normal’. Well the levels certainly aren’t ‘normal’ in as much as there is seemingly no real normal with anything remotely impacted by weather and climate. What can be reasonably asked is whether water levels in this part of Georgian Bay are close to the historical averages and/or chart datum.

With respect to chart datum in June it seems we are about 0.6 meters above the mean average low water levels and 0.8 meters below the average high water levels. Comfortable average perhaps? Here’s a link to the most revcent Canadian Hydrographic Service data.

Here’s a simpler measure of water levels – a photograph of Zhiishib Rock in the Big Sound just outside Parry Sound harbour. Taken last week with calm conditions  it suggests we are probably close to average in terms of water level. There doesn’t seem to be a high water mark, the topmost dark line, much above the current level, perhaps 20 centimeters (8 inches) or so. This may well represent the mean high water mark for the last few  decades where there has been a fluctuation between alarming high and low water levels. (Click on the photo below for a larger version.)


Regardless, the water levels make boating a bit more comfortable in the area. I was talking to one sailboater who said he was able to get into the government dock at The Pancakes for the first time in a decade.

Despite the high water levels it seems boating traffic is down in this part of Georgian Bay. It might be the higher price of fuel, but it’s probably the cooler and less predictable weather. Temperatures certainly seem to be ‘comfortably cool’ for this time of year with a bit more rain than might be expected. That’s based on my realization that the lawn and garden haven’t yet required watering, and there hasn’t been a need for fans in the windows.

Boating this year is wonderful – lots of water and not too hot. Come on up and enjoy it while summer is still around to welcome you.

JB – Communications Officer