Water Levels in Colonel By Lake

ki mills waterfal may 22 2017 b

Spring 2017 poured a lot of water from the heavens into the Rideau Watershed and the level of Colonel By Lake has been higher than ever.

When we built our house near the lake, the  Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority, watershed management and Parks Canada prohibited the building of a basement. The floor of our first level of the house needed to be six feet, one and a half meter, above the highest recorded water level since the canal was built in 1832. We are glad we did built accordingly. For water levels over time and the targets of water management, click here.

The recent lake level was almost 20 cm above the highest recorded since 1832. The recent high water is now the record high level until it might be broken next year, or the years thereafter. The wetlands on our thirteen acre property expanded widely by absorbing the massive amounts of water that poured down for days on end. Plants and amphibians had a good time.

Watershed managers in the different areas coordinated water flow as best they could. The weir in the dam and the hydro-electric generation station at Kingston Mills worked overtime. I took some photos of the thundering water that flowed over the weir and under the road towards the waterfall at the south-east side of the blockhouse.

Kingston Mills

The original Kinston Mills engineering plan and nomenclature; from Rideau Canal a History of the Rideau Lock Stations. Almost all of this plan can still be seen. Only the lock-master’s house was not built in the shown location.

The dam and weir. The new concrete cap was installed in 2016 to stabilize the stone key-work of the original  140 feet limestone dam. The overflow seems gentle from this distance, and it is only part of the water released from the lake since the power generating station takes also a substantial outflow from Colonel By Lake.

The water thunders through the sluice that runs underneath the one lane bridge. The bridge has been completely renewed during the fall of 2016 and the spring of 2017. It was scheduled to open in the middle of May but is now delayed. 

ki mills waterfal may 22 2017 d

The water flows from under the bridge and against the rock-bluff on which the blockhouse has been built. From there it flows towards the south-east side of the earthen wall of the roadway and from there it is reflected towards the rocky cliffs of the original waterfall in the river.  But the earthen wall did not stand up against the eroding water. In the photo below the road is washed out with the steel railing posts hanging in the air.  My VIDEO of the rushing water shows this in real-time, click here. 

A professional view of before and after the flood taken by a drone gives a really spectacular view of the Kingston Mills area, waterways, waterfall and power generation station. Click HERE and look for Kingston Mills drone videos, specifically “Kingston Mills Before and After the Flood”.

ki mills waterfal may 22 2017 c

The washed out road that was just rebuilt as part of the 5 million dollar restoration and upgrade of the Kingston Mills lock-station. When and how this is going to be repaired is currently being discussed. The opening of the road will be delayed well beyond the mid-May opening of the locks.

The waterfall on the east side of the hydro-electric generation station looks in this setting like it would have been before the building of the Kingston Mills locks in 1926-1932. Note the small rainbow just to the right and above the centre of the photo.


The two large diameter pipes funneling water tot the turbines in the electric generation station. Note that the water flows over the rocks and under the pipes, a feature that has never happened. This water will join the waterfall and will flow into Lake Ontario via the Cataraqui River and the Inner Harbour at Kingston.

Image result for Cataraqui River


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