Due to below average rainfall over the last three months, conditions in the Rideau Valley Watershed now meet the threshold for Minor Low Water status under the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water by limiting non-essential uses (e.g., lawn watering, car washing, etc.), for an overall consumption reduction of about 10 percent. Residents are also encouraged to consult with their municipalities regarding any water conservation bylaws that may be in effect.
Stream flow values are lower than normal by as much as 20 to 30 percent and field observations indicate that ecological conditions are becoming stressed. The average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is near 60 per cent of normal for this time of year, which has triggered the Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, rainfall has been variable across the watershed, with the average amount being near 35 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast indicates we will receive minimal precipitation.
Following an early spring freshet this year, Parks Canada staff are closely monitoring the water levels throughout the Rideau Canal system inside the Rideau Valley watershed. Water levels in the reservoir/flow-through lakes are currently well below normal and are expected to decline further with little precipitation in the short-term forecast. Rideau River flows downstream of Big Rideau Lake have been reduced to minimum. Water levels in the Rideau River below Smiths Falls are within navigable ranges.
To better understand local conditions, landowners, businesses, and industries are encouraged to contact Brian Stratton by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if they are experiencing any unusual water-related problems.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed. Updates to this message will be issued as conditions warrant.