Conservation Authority Roles & Responsibilities

Cataraqui Conservation, in cooperation with local municipalities and the Province, plays an important role in protecting life and property from natural hazards such as flooding. Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Environment Canada, Cataraqui Conservation is responsible for monitoring and predicting flood flows and water levels within our jurisdiction, operating flood control structures such as dams and disseminating flood messages to local municipalities and agencies.

flooding over a road

Conservation Authorities use data gathered from stream gauges, weather stations, snow surveys, meteorological forecasts and computer models to forecast potential floods.

Programs and services to prevent and control flooding offered by Conservation Authorities include:

  • monitoring conditions
  • computer modeling and forecasting flooding
  • issuing flood messages
  • regulation of development in flood prone areas
  • provide planning support and advice to municipalities to minimize the impact of flooding
  • protecting significant ecosystems such as wetlands and forests that help to control flooding; and education the public

Water Level Range Information

Flooding Information

Flood Messages and What They Mean

When flooding is possible, or about to occur, the Cataraqui Conservation issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials, the media and the public. In a flooding emergency situation, municipalities take the lead as they are responsible for emergency response under provincial legislation. Each municipality has an emergency response plan which deals with many situations including flooding.

There are five flood message types that staff send out for inland lakes and streams:

  1. Normal: no flood conditions exist.
  2. Watershed Conditions Statement - Water Safety: high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding in not expected.
  3. Watershed Conditions Statement - Flood Outlook: early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts call for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lake shore flooding or erosion.
  4. Flood Watch: Flooding is  possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services, and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
  5. Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.