Fresh water is a natural resource critical to the economic and environmental well being of all residents of the Rideau Valley. In the past, periods of dry weather and low water levels were relatively uncommon — happening every decade or so. But, with changing weather patterns, low water levels may occur more often, especially with the increasing demand for water.
Low water affects:
- municipal sources
- private wells
- lakes, rivers, ponds and all the residents in those waters
- agriculture — irrigation, watering livestock
- fire fighting
- business and industrial uses
- recreation (boating, fishing, swimming)
- personal use — drinking, washing, laundry, etc.
The Government of Ontario has set up the Ontario Low Water Response (OLWR), which ensures that the province is prepared for low water conditions in the future. The response plan is intended to help co-ordinate and support local response in the event of drought. The local teams are established in areas experiencing low water conditions so that the local community can carry out actions to reduce and better manage water use.
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, measures precipitation, stream flow and water levels which indicate the severity of low water conditions in the watershed. The LWR Team decides on an appropriate response that may include the actions suggested in the Low Water Levels chart below.