Farm Lake Water Level Measurement Project
As of April 2020, GORA began began recording the water level of Farm Lake to ensure that water is flowing out of the lake unimpeded through the creek and culvert. Our goal is to ensure that debris does not impede the flow of the creek, which would result in elevated levels of lake water, an abnormally high water table, and flooding of basements in the spring. Daily measurement of the lake’s water level helps in two ways:
it will allow us to develop a baseline to compare the level of Farm Lake between years;
it gives us an early warning that the culvert at the creek may be blocked.
We now have one year’s worth of measurements to act as a baseline to compare the level of Farm Lake between this year and last. Here are the most significant measurements recorded in 2020-21:
2020 Peak = +17.5" above Summer Low* on April 15
(thankfully, this did not result in water infiltration of basements);
2020 Low = +2.5" above Summer Low on July 31;
2021 Peak = +10" above Summer Low on March 31
(this is significantly lower than the 2020 spring peak);
Current = +5" above Summer Low on July 21.
* 'Summer Low' is defined as the lowest level seen on Farm Lake over the last half-decade by owners of two of the low-lying properties.
We check the culvert regularly to ensure that the water is flowing freely and we thank the Municipality and the Provincial Ministry of Transport for responding quickly when blockages need to be cleared. The complete set of daily measurements is updated frequently.
History of the Issue (2019) - Farm Lake Creek
A primary issue of concern at the 2019 AGM was the debris in the Farm Lake Creek that impeded the flow of the creek resulting in elevated levels of lake water and flooding of basements in the spring of 2019 from an abnormally high water table.
Following the AGM, a few GORA members sent a request to Council to clean the debris from the Farm Lake Creek. A photo showing an accumulation of logs stretching from shore to shore was also provided. Council's response was that the Creek was looked at and they determined that removal of the debris was not necessary.
Given this response, GORA members went to the Creek on Friday, July 26 to clear out - by hand - the numerous big logs and garbage. Council was notified that GORA removed the debris and the Municipality agreed to dispose of it.
At the regular Council meeting held on August 6, 2019, several GORA members attended and voiced their concerns about the creek situation. We made three requests of Council:
1) To cease having its snow removal contractor push snow to the edge of the creek and to ensure that the Ministry of Transport does not do the same;
2) To apply for a permit to dredge the creek in order to maximize water flow (if necessary); and
3) To regularly monitor and clear debris in the creek to help ensure that water levels in Farm Lake are not so unnecessarily elevated that they result in flooding of basements in the spring.
During the discussion, we pointed out to Council that since the debris had been cleared from the creek, the level of the lake water decreased by approximately six inches.
The Mayor committed to having the creek inspected by a civil engineer to help determine if anything else should be done. In October, the engineer reported the following:
snow should never be pushed to the creek’s edge;
there are large branches (on standing trees) leaning into the creek that should be removed; and
dredging the creek would not significantly lower the water level in the lake.
Over the course of the winter of 2019-2020, snow stopped being pushed towards the edge of the creek in the centre of town. The large branches leaning into the creek were removed in the spring of 2020. These are victories!
Greater Otter Lake Residents' Association (GORA)
Association des Résidents du Grand Otter Lake (ARGO)