September 06, 2016

Rideau Watershed still in “Severe” Drought Condition

For more information, contact:

  • Ewan Hardie
  • Director Watershed Sciences
  • 613-692-3571 or 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1130
  • 613-799-9423 (cell)

Sporadic and random rainfall over the last week was not enough to bring the Rideau River watershed out of the Severe Drought status reached in mid-August

Previous rain in August did cause flows and levels to increase but only for a brief period. With rain coming in small cells that affected very limited areas, levels have quickly declined again. Forecast for this week has a total of 20 millimetres possible that will not have a significant impact.

Wetlands in the upper parts of the watershed are virtually dry as are tributary streams to the rivers. The Tay River is only flowing because of outflow from Bobs Lake. This flow is needed largely to maintain a supply of water for the Town of Perth. Residents of Perth can be commended for their efforts to conserve water. Meter records indicate that water use has been reduced noticeably

All watershed residents are encouraged to follow this lead and make every effort to conserve water be it from a ground or surface source. An example of an unnecessary use of water has been brought to our attention several times by neighbours of people who continue to water their lawns daily from wells. This practice is wasteful and is affecting what is available for other residents who share the aquifer for their water.

With water levels 23 to 39 centimetres below target for the time of year, the Rideau Canal reservoir lakes are closer to what is typical of late September to the end of October. Levels of all four of the reservoir lakes continue to decline as do those of the other lakes in the watershed.

Wetlands are dry and streams have no flow. Lakes have exposed rocks and shoals not usually seen but that are now an obstacle to boating. People are having issues with wells. Trees and other vegetation are going into autumn mode early and fish and other aquatic creatures continue to be confined to disconnected pools in otherwise virtually dry stream channels.

Until it is obvious that the system is recovering, the “Severe” Drought designation will continue to apply. The drought status will be reviewed regularly and amended as conditions warrant.

Relevant information sources are as follows:

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.

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.

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.

Contact Us

Address:
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

Phone:
613-692-3571, 1-800-267-3504

Email:

Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Member of: conservation ontario