Sept. 6, 2019
Due to lower than normal rainfall over the last few months in the Cataraqui Region, a Level I Drought Condition has been declared today for the area extending from Napanee to Brockville and north to Newboro.
“Despite the high-water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, lower precipitation amounts through July and part of August have contributed to lower than average surface water conditions for our inland watersheds,” explained CRCA Watershed Planning Co-ordinator, Holly Evans. “All monitored inland streams are flowing below the average flow rate for this time of year, and only with sustained amounts of rainfall will we see those streams begin to recover.”
Low water conditions are based upon precipitation and stream flow indicators and low water declarations are determined by the Cataraqui Region Water Response Team convened by the CRCA as part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
A Level I drought condition is the first of three levels and reflects a potential water supply problem if current precipitation and stream flows trends persist. Level II ‘Moderate’ suggests a potentially serious problem where a Level III ‘Severe’ indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand.
Residents on groundwater systems or that draw from inland lakes or streams are asked to voluntarily conserve water by limiting outside watering of plants and lawns, washing vehicles, driveways and sidewalks. As well, we recommend conducting repairs on leaky plumbing or fixtures to help curtail water wastage. Note that lawns naturally become dormant during times of low water and will recover quickly. Lawns that have turned brown from the drought are not “dead”, the grass has just gone dormant from lack of water. When rainfall returns, the grass will come out of dormancy and perk back up.
If a water well supply becomes low or dry, well owners are encouraged to review the Ontario Government’s “Managing your well in times of drought publication
(https://www.ontario.ca/page/managing-your-water-well-times-water-shortage), and contact a local licensed water well contractor (https://www.ontario.ca/page/find-licenced-well-contractors) to assess the well and provide recommended solutions.
Municipalities may invoke water use bylaws and residents should find out what bylaws are in effect in their municipalities regarding water use as well as outdoor fires.
To help CRCA staff track the spread and seriousness of low water impacts on the region, we are asking for help from the public in collecting this information. If
Cataraqui Region residents have a low water concern, please let us know by filling in this quick online form found on our website: https://crca.ca/watershed-management/watershed-information/low-water/.
The CRCA will continue to monitor conditions and will provide updates as conditions change.