June 24, 2020
Due to lower than normal rainfall over the last few months in the Cataraqui Region, a Level I Low Water condition has been confirmed today for the area extending from Napanee to Brockville and north to Newboro.
“Lower than normal precipitation amounts, hot temperatures, and high winds have contributed to lower than average surface water conditions for our inland watersheds,” explained Cataraqui Conservation Watershed Planning Coordinator, Holly Evans. “On average our region has only received about 40% of normal rainfall amounts over the last month and 70% over the last three months. 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 a Level I Low Water confirmation is determined by Cataraqui Conservation as part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
A Level I Low Water condition is the first of three levels and reflects a potential water supply problem if current precipitation and stream flow 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 Cataraqui Conservation 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 residents have a low water concern, please let us know by filling in this quick online form:
Cataraqui Conservation will continue to monitor water levels and will provide updates as conditions change.