watershed conditions statement - water safety

December 23, 2020

Cataraqui Conservation has issued a Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety today due to a strong storm system that is forecast for December 24th through 25th and expected to bring rain and snow to the region. Total amounts and form of precipitation is uncertain, but forecasts are calling for rainfall amounts of 40 – 60 mm. Higher amounts are possible.

With frozen ground conditions and minimal snowpack to absorb rainfall, high runoff into lakes and streams is expected, followed by water level and flow increases. If the forecast amounts are received, inland lake and stream flows will increase, and water levels may rise for several days.

Cataraqui Conservation is urging caution around all dams (inflow and outflow channels) and fast flowing watercourses. Respect the hazards in these areas by obeying all warning signs, keeping away from booms, buoys, and barriers. Stay well back from the water’s edge above and below dams and hydroelectric stations. Creek banks and lake shorelines may be slippery, increasing the chance of falling in.

Also, due to the high flows, ice formation on lakes can be very unsafe. Cataraqui Conservation does not measure ice thickness for advising the public about ice conditions for recreational activities. Ice conditions can vary considerably from one waterbody to the next and within a single waterbody.

Widespread flooding is NOT expected at this time. However, localized inundation of low-lying areas is likely. If you witness flooding and/or require assistance your first point of contact is the local municipality.

Staff will continue to monitor conditions and forecasts and will update statements as needed. This Watershed Conditions Statement will remain in effect until (or updated before) Wednesday, January 06, 2021 at 11:59 PM.

For up-to-date flooding information, please visit our flood forecasting page.

See below for watershed conditions terminology:

  • Normal: No flood conditions exist
  • Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety: High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
  • Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook: Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in specific watercourse or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.

Media contact for more information:
Krista Fazackerley, Communications & Education Supervisor (613) 546-4228 ext. 243

Municipalities contact for more information:
Steve Knapton, Supervisor, Operations & Maintenance (613) 546-4228 ext. 223
Shawn Fairbank, Technologist, Water Resources (613) 546-4228 ext. 284
Toll-free (613 area code) 1-877-956-CRCA (2722)