September 16, 2016

“Severe” Drought Condition Continued

Recent heavy but localized rain was not sufficient to change the drought status in the Rideau River watershed from “Severe.”

Streamflows and lake levels continue to decline throughout the watershed. At the climate station at Kemptville, 44 millimetres of rain was recorded on September 10. Both Smiths Falls and Rideau Ferry received 26 but all of 2 mm was recorded at the station at Innisville east of Perth. Where the heavier rainfall occurred, levels increased but they quickly fell back to where they had been.

All watershed residents are encouraged to make every effort to conserve water be it from a ground or surface source. Cars, driveways and houses do not need to be washed during a drought. Lawns and gardens do not need daily watering. The use of rain barrels to capture what rain does fall and to water gardens can save a significant amount of freshwater.

The levels of the Rideau Canal reservoir lakes, Big Rideau, Upper Rideau, Wolfe and Bobs, are closer to what is typical of late September to mid-November and 20 to 35 centimetres below target for the time of year. Along with the four reservoir lakes, levels on the other lakes in the watershed also continue to decline from outflow and evaporation. As fall comes on, so too will cooler temperatures which will reduce the amount of evaporation. The number of days in 2016 with maximum temperatures of 30 degrees and over (average of the totals at the reference climate stations) is 28. Compare this with the 10 days with 30 and over temperatures in 2015 and it is easy to see why lake levels went down farther and faster than is typical.

Until it is obvious that sustained flows and levels have been restored and the Rideau 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

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