Minor Low Water Conditions in Rideau Valley Watershed
June 4, 2020 – Due to below average rainfall in April and May, 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 during dry conditions.
Although stream flow values are not currently below any of the low water thresholds, the stream flow values are lower than normal by as much as 30 to 50 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 just shy of 80 per cent of normal for this time of year, which is a key indicator for Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, average rainfall is slightly below 50 per cent of normal. Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecast suggests we will continue to receive minimal precipitation.
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 are currently close to normal but are expected to decline 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.
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.
"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."