The drought status in the Rideau River watershed that was left at “Minor” after a dry year in 2016 is, by this statement, reduced to “Normal”.
The uncertainty that prompted holding the Minor status through the winter was because it wasn’t clear what state groundwater resources had been left at as the onset of winter arrived. With a period of warmer temperatures and the loss of much of the snow cover by late March, there was an opportunity to access the monitoring wells in the Rideau River watershed. Measurements indicated that groundwater levels had been restored to about the long term average.
By this time in mid-April last year, farmers were able to get on their fields to start ploughing and planting. This year, flooding is still a concern and precipitation since the start of the year is 5% above normal. Dry conditions can at any time return, of course, and RVCA staff will continue to monitor conditions and issue statements as warranted.
All watershed residents are encouraged to conserve water at all times not just when drought conditions prevail.
Relevant information sources are as follows:
- Ministry of Environment and Climate Change
- Ontario’s Low Water Response program
- Hourly and daily streamflows and water levels
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 by email (instructions at http://www.rvca.ca/low_water/index.html ). There is also the Drought Impacts Map application on the RVCA website under Watershed Conditions.
RVCA Watershed Conditions Statements:
- Water Safety – High flows, unstable banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
- Flood Outlook – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts, calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams and/or lakeshore flooding or erosion.
- Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individuals in flood prone areas should prepare.
- Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in area watercourses.