Water safety inland

Kingston – Cataraqui Conservation has updated its Water Safety Statement due to the forecast for warmer temperatures and rainfall and is asking residents and visitors to the Cataraqui Region to exercise caution on waterbodies and near shorelines.

Weather Situation:

The spring freshet (snowmelt) has arrived early this year. Daytime highs of 10-15 °C are expected February 27 and 28, accompanied by 20 – 35mm+ rainfall, the bulk of the rain falling on Feb. 28. Below zero temperatures are expected to return briefly starting the night of Feb. 28, before a sustained period of warmth begins March 1.


Streamflows are about normal for this time of year, the snow water equivalent in the snowpack is below normal and the ground remains frozen. Inland lakes and streams may rise quickly due to higher runoff over frozen ground. If the rainfall that’s received is in the higher end of the forecasted range some water levels may exceed those seen during a typical spring freshet.

Ice safety concerns remain. The warmer temperatures and elevated flows and fluctuating water levels will act to weaken the ice.

Cataraqui Conservation is urging caution when considering activities on the ice, particularly around all dams (inflow and outflow channels), fast-flowing watercourses, and stormwater ponds. Respect the hazards in these areas by obeying all warning signs, and keep 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.

Cataraqui Conservation does not use ice thickness measurements for evaluating ice conditions. Due to climate variability ice formation may not be consistent and ice conditions can deteriorate quickly. Based on observations by area water managers (representatives of local private power companies, provincial and federal ministries responsible for water management) there is concern for the condition of the ice, which can vary considerably from one waterbody to the next and within a single waterbody. No ice is without some risk. Visit lifesaving.org for ice safety information.

Widespread flooding is NOT expected at this time. However, localized inundation of low-lying and poorly drained areas is possible. 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, March 13, 2024, at 11:59 PM.

For up-to-date flooding information, please visit our flood forecasting and information page at https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/flood