What is a UTWWMP
By Jenn Watt
Lake advocates and politicians are coming together to form a new group with a familiar purpose.
The UTWWMP, Upper Trent Watershed Water Management Partnership, is a wordy way of uniting the
clout of local councils with the expertise and passion of lake stewards from across the region.
Feeding the Trent-Severn Waterway, the reservoir and flow through lakes that dot the landscape of
the Haliburton Highlands and northern parts of Peterborough County have historically been given less
consideration than the operations of the canal.
This has led to frustration on the part of lakefront property owners and politicians as they tried to
effect change in the way the TSW is run by Parks Canada. Accomplishments were made over time,
with the Coalition for Equitable Water Flow gaining respect and attention for their efforts, but
something was still missing.
Despite the creation of several promising documents and committees, an integrated water
management approach, giving equal weight to water conservation and the impact on communities
throughout the watershed with the operations of the TSW canals, has never come to be.
The UTWWMP would seek to address that.
And while Parks Canada established a Water Management Advisory Council in 2009, it has no
chairperson and hasn’t been holding meetings.
It makes most sense for the energy for such a committee to come from the ground up – starting with
the CEWF advocates, moving though local council members and onto federal agencies.
Rooting the initiative in local councils will give the group the stability and the platform to speak, as
they say, “with one voice” on issues that concern some 30,000 property owners. In its presentation to
county council on Wednesday, CEWF already had an impressive list of suggested initiatives it has
cultivated during its years of advocating for reservoir lakes.
Among them is flood planning, pushing for constraint-based water management of the system,
collaborating with area agencies and advising on preparations for climate change and extreme
Since CEWF came together in 2006, the organization has been doggedly advocating for better water
management that takes into consideration the enjoyment of lakefront property, the health of the
wildlife dependent on the lake levels, safety for lake users and effective navigation of the system.
Bringing that dedication and knowledge base to that of area councils, which also bring representatives
with extensive knowledge of lake and political systems, will make for the most promising organization