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Ontario Approves Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan and Assessment Report Amendments

MISSISSIPPI AND RIDEAU WATERSHEDS, June 30, 2020 — Amendments to the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan and the Rideau Valley Assessment Report to further protect municipal drinking water systems have been approved by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The amendments, which took effect on May 21, 2020, include:

  • revised vulnerable areas for the new and existing municipal wells in Kemptville (owned and operated by the Municipality of North Grenville) and for the neighbouring Merrickville drinking water system
  • updated policies for the storage of chemicals known as dense non-aqueous phase liquids (DNAPLs) e.g. chemicals used for the repair of motor vehicles, dry cleaning, etc.
  • updated Source Protection Plan and Assessment Report mapping

“These amendments ensure local, municipal drinking water systems continue to be protected through the drinking water source protection program” said Kestrel Wraggett, Project Manager for the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region. “The Kemptville municipal drinking water system serves approximately 5,000 people and relies on the safe management of a well protection area of 75 km2. Having clean, safe water is essential to the health of our watershed community and safeguarding our water resources is crucial.”

Drinking water sources in the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region include groundwater, drawn from aquifers underground, and water drawn from rivers. The Source Protection Plan sets out policies that use a variety of tools to protect municipal drinking water sources from contamination. These tools include education, risk management planning, prohibition, and land use planning. Policies in the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan first came into effect on January 1, 2015. Visit the Region’s local website at to find out more.

An amendment to the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Plan and Rideau Valley Assessment Report is necessary to meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act.

The Notice of Approval of the amended Assessment Report and Source Protection Plan for the Mississippi-Rideau Source Protection Region is also posted on Ontario’s Environmental Registry at

If you have questions about the approved changes, please contact Kestrel Wraggett at .

June 25, 2020 – This statement is to advise that the low water status in the Rideau River watershed is now at MODERATE severity under the Ontario Low Water Responses Program.

Although some areas of the watershed have received more rain than others, the watershed has received very little rainfall over the past three months. The average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is below 80 per cent of normal for this time of year. In the past 30 days, average rainfall is well below 50 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast suggests we will continue to receive minimal precipitation.

Stream flow values for all waterways are well below normal for this time of year. For example, the measured flows for the Rideau River at Carleton University and the Tay River in Perth are at about 40 percent normal for this time of year. Measured flows for the smaller tributaries such as the Jock River and Kemptville Creek are near 5 percent of normal for this time of year. Field observations around the watershed indicate that ecological conditions are poor with many fragmented streams and numerous reports of algae and/or weed growth.

Following an early spring freshet this year, Parks Canada are closely monitoring the water levels throughout the Rideau Canal system inside the Rideau Valley watershed. Water levels in the reservoir lakes, located in the upper reaches of the Rideau Valley watershed, are below normal and are expected to decline further with little precipitation in the 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 but some areas are below average for this time of year.

Water conservation is encouraged for all watershed residents and businesses, especially those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources and all residents on private, communal or municipal wells. There is less of a concern for residents of urban Ottawa because the City of Ottawa central drinking water system draws from the Ottawa River. Residents throughout the watershed should be aware of any bans or bylaws that may be in place in their municipalities regarding fires or watering bans.

Conditions are expected to decline with limited rain in the forecast. 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. 

More resources: 

"Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a partnership of municipalities within the Rideau Valley watershed created under the Conservation Authorities Act to deliver a range of programs in watershed management and natural resource conservation."

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