TRCA Statement on Public Safety Due to High Water Levels on Lake Ontario

UPDATED: MAY 9, 2017

Highly elevated water levels in Lake Ontario continue to pose the risk of flooding and erosion along the lake. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is working with the City of Toronto and other municipalities to monitor and protect infrastructure and maintain public safety in areas impacted along the shoreline.

Fluctuation in lake levels is a natural process. Elevated levels can cause flooding, however, the greater risk occurs when elevated water levels are coupled with wave action from high winds. Along the Toronto shoreline, winds blowing from the southeast cause higher than average waves because they travel farther across the lake, building momentum.

As lake levels are expected to continue to rise, TRCA is asking all residents and children to exercise caution along lakefront areas while high water levels and wind persist. Elevated lake levels combined with wave activity can make these areas potentially dangerous. Use extra caution when around any water bodies, and stay away from any areas experiencing erosion.

TRCA has built flood and erosion control infrastructure on the Lake Ontario waterfront, and with current water levels it is being put to the test. Lessons learned from current conditions will inform future initiatives to protect people and property along the Toronto region shoreline.

Flood risks along Lake Ontario occur differently from those along rivers in the Toronto region. Along rivers they are driven primarily by rainfall events. With our short watersheds, rivers take only a day or two to return to their baseline levels after each storm. Lake levels, on the other hand, depend on many more factors, and are the result of what is happening in a much larger drainage area over a longer period of time.

Current and forecasted Great Lakes water levels can be found at the following websites: