The Rideau Canal reservoir lakes, Bobs, Wolfe and Upper and Big Rideau Lakes, have levels 30 to 40 centimetres below what are typical for this time of year. The lake levels now are what is usually seen in September. Despite both Upper and Big Rideau lake levels having fallen below the target operating range for early August, Parks Canada has not yet had to reduce the maximum draft provision for the north travelling Canal system from Upper Rideau Lake through to the Ottawa Locks.
Levels on non-reservoir lakes have also continued to decline with losses due to evaporation in the order of 1 to 2 centimetres per day. Boaters on all lakes will need to be careful to avoid newly exposed shoals and rocks as levels drop.
Water conservation is increasingly important as the drought continues. Residents whose water comes from a municipal water system need to check their municipal webpage for any water use restrictions that may be in place. Those living in areas served by groundwater wells need to use water wisely to avoid depleting the aquifer from which they are drawing. Holders of Permits to Take Water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed through the Rideau Valley Low Water Response Team. An update to this message will be issued as conditions warrant.
To learn more about Ontario’s Low Water Response program visit their website. Also, visit the RVCA website for information about drought response. For hourly and daily streamflows and water levels go to RVCA Flow & 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 1132.
The Drought indicators are:
Minor: 80% to 60% of long-term average precipitation for 540 day and/or 90 day precipitation totals and/or 7-day average streamflows less than the 5 year return period low flow. This category reflects concern.
Moderate: 60% to 40% of long-term average precipitation for 540, 90 and/or 30 day precipitation totals and/or 7-day average streamflows less than the 10 year return period low flow. This category suggests a potentially serious problem is pending.
Severe: less than 40% of long-term average precipitation for 540, 90 and/or 30 day precipitation totals and/or 7-day average streamflows less than the 10 year return period low flow. This category indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand.