Cataraqui Conservation with their Low Water Response Team has downgraded the low water condition from Level 2 to Level 1 today due to higher-than-normal amounts of rainfall for the month of July.
“The month of July was wetter than normal with the regional average precipitation at 165% of normal. All low water indicators used to identify low water conditions are starting to show normal conditions at the end of July with the exception of Wilton Creek and Millhaven Creek which are still showing a Level 2 low water condition,” explained Holly Evans, Cataraqui Conservation Watershed Planning Coordinator.
“Rainfall amounts have fluctuated throughout the Cataraqui Region and some areas are still a bit drier than others. However, the rainfall has started to fill the dry wetlands helping to restore their function of slowly releasing water to replenish streams during dry weather.”
Low water conditions are based upon precipitation and stream flow indicators and a Level 1 low water confirmation is determined by Cataraqui Conservation and the Cataraqui Region Low Water Response Team as part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
A Level 1 low water condition is the first of three levels and reflects a potential water supply problem if low precipitation and stream flow trends persist. Level 2 “moderate” suggests a potentially serious problem where a Level 3 “severe” condition 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 following water conservation practices:
- Reduce non-essential water uses.
- Limiting outside watering of plants and lawns. If you must water your lawn, early morning or later evening watering reduces evaporation.
- 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.
- Limit washing vehicles, driveways, and sidewalks. Use a pail of soapy water to wash your car and rinse off quickly with a hose.
- Repair leaky plumbing or fixtures to help curtail water wastage.
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.