Water Safety Statement Updated for Inland Lakes & Streams

Cataraqui Conservation has updated its Water Safety Statement due to changing conditions and ongoing ice safety concerns and is asking residents and visitors to the Cataraqui Region to exercise caution on waterbodies and near shorelines.

Weather Situation: Spring appears to have come early this year. It kicked off with a February that broke temperature records averaging above zero for the month in some parts of Ontario. Approximately 20 to 40 mm of rain is forecast for March 9 and 10, and above zero temperatures are expected to persist.

Risks: Streamflows are in the normal range for this time of year, some lake levels are above normal. The snow is gone, and the ground is thawing, but still has limited ability to infiltrate rainfall. Water managers continue discharge adjustments at dams to track target water levels, which are rising at this time of year in preparation for the summer recreation season.

Ice safety concerns remain. Ice conditions will continue to deteriorate from the warm temperatures.

Forecasts vary and include uncertainty. If the rainfall received is in the higher end of the forecasted range, inland lakes and streams may rise quickly.

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 20, 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