The last significant rainfall in the Rideau River watershed on June 5 caused streamflows to increase and helped crop growth, but the effect has worn off and the lack of rain since has once again left flows dropping and crops in need of more water.
Rainfall recorded at Kemptville indicates that the Moderate Drought severity has been reached in the southern parts of the watershed. However, the drought severity overall in the watershed is still Minor but is expected to reach Moderate status late next week. Forecast rain next week is not expected to have a significant impact.
Streamflows increased to about 50% of normal after the June 5 rain but have declined again to about 15% of normal for the time of year. The present flow on the Jock River is less than what is typically seen during the annual lowest flow period in early September.
Small streams will be going dry which will put stress on the various aquatic species. Lake levels in the upper half of the watershed will continue to decline which can be expected to introduce more hazards to navigation. The challenge for Parks Canada staff to balance water levels in the reservoir lakes and the Canal will be increasingly difficult.
Staff at the Perth and the Smiths Falls Drinking Water Treatment Plants are monitoring the condition of the source waters and amending treatment as necessary.
While water conservation is recommended for everyone in the watershed as a normal practise it is less critical in the urban area of Ottawa that is served by a water system that draws from the Ottawa River. Those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible and residents on wells will need to use water conservatively. Municipalities may invoke water use bylaws and residents should find out what bylaws are in effect in their municipalities regarding water use as well as outdoor fires.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed through the Rideau Valley Water Response Team. An update of this statement will be issued on Thursday, June 23.
To learn more about Ontario’s Low Water Response program visit: https://www.ontario.ca/page/low-water-responseprogram. Also, visit the RVCA website (www.rvca.ca) for local conditions.
In order that we can track impacts of the drought conditions in the watershed, we request that any individuals or businesses in the Rideau Watershed who may be experiencing difficulties with their wells please contact the Conservation Authority by calling 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504, ext. 1128 or 1132.