Spring showers increase water levels in Rideau Valley Watershed

Above normal temperatures in March have melted most of the snow across the Rideau Valley watershed. The snow melt was quite rapid at first causing water levels and flows to rise quickly in some areas. This was followed by a more gradual melt of the remaining snow. For the most part, water levels and flows are about normal for this time of year and are well below flood thresholds.   

The short-term forecast is calling for rainfall amounts of between 40 to 50 millimetres between last Thursday and Sunday, with heaviest rain on Friday, and cooler temperatures but still above zero. If the rain comes as forecast, water levels and flows will increase again across the Rideau Valley Watershed. As such, an updated Flood Outlook is in effect due the possibility of flooding for all low-lying areas along all waterways, especially near small creeks and streams. Parks Canada staff who manage the water levels for the Rideau Canal have indicated that the levels in the upper watershed lakes are currently below average and expected to rise but not to flood levels.

Further to the above, a Flood Watch is in effect for the low-lying areas along Stevens Creek and Taylor Drain in the Village of North Gower. If the rain comes as forecast, water levels may be similar too, or possibly higher than, those already observed this spring.

With the rising water levels expected over the coming days, the remaining ice cover on lakes, ditches, local streams, and rivers will be unstable. In addition, ice cover in the rivers and streams may breakup as a result of warm temperatures and higher flows, increasing the risk of ice jams and associated overbank flooding. Extreme caution should be exercised by everyone when near local waterbodies. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.

Residents in flood-prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:

• Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve

• Ensuring easy access to a portable backup generator and pump

• Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 metres from the dwelling

• Securing items that might float away as flows increase

• Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject

  to flooding

• Keeping emergency phone numbers handy

• Familiarizing yourself with your municipality’s Emergency Preparedness Plan

This watershed conditions statement is in effect until April 15, 2021, at 5 p.m. and will be updated at that time unless the forecast or conditions change.