Watershed Conditions Statements

Daytime temperatures above freezing forecast for the weekend and into next week will cause melting and increased levels on watercourses throughout the Rideau River watershed. Above freezing temperatures will cause ice and snow melt over the next several days. There is sufficient snow on the ground in the lower part of the watershed to absorb most of the meltwater. However, areas to the south and west of the City of Ottawa, where there has been less snowfall, can be expected to have more runoff. In all cases, the ice cover can be expected to become unstable to various extents with…
The drought status in the Rideau River watershed is being downgraded to “Minor” because the recent warm temperatures and precipitation have caused flows to increase significantly in watershed streams.Rain and snowmelt have caused flows in some streams to approach and, in some cases, exceed the long-term historical average flows. Kemptville Creek had low flows of .028 cubic metres per second (cms), 1.5% of average, in mid-October. Occasional thaws with rain since then have caused flows to increase in all streams and fluctuate around the average. Kemptville Creek flows have been consistently elevated since December 27 and reached three times the…
The drought status in the Rideau River watershed is being downgraded to “Moderate” because recent precipitation has generally increased flows in area streams.  Kemptville Creek flows are about 130% of the historical average, or normal, for the time of year as a result of October rain and November snowmelt. Other recorded streamflows are above 60% of normal which has led to the downgrade of the drought status. However, the Tay River out of Bobs Lake has not had the same precipitation and is at only 10% of the normal flow. This indicates that the drought is not fully over despite…
The drought status in the Rideau River watershed remains at “Severe” because sustained flows in the streams and rivers have not been restored. As has been the case all summer, rainfall has been very erratic with significant amounts recorded at some monitoring stations and very little at others. There has been enough rain in the last two weeks to make many watershed residents forget that there is still a drought. Lawns are green. Farm crops are close to being ready for harvest.
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.
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.
Despite the recent rainfall, the Rideau Valley remains in a Severe Drought Status. The 90-day accumulation of rainfall recorded at Environment Canada climate stations in and around the Rideau River watershed has increased to an average of 82 percent of the historical average. The 30-day accumulation is about 99 percent.
Based on the 30 Day Precipitation drought indicator, the Rideau River Watershed is in the “Severe” Drought category. There has been no rain recorded at the Ottawa Airport since July 25. Some rain has been recorded at other locations in and around the watershed but there have not been the several days of rain needed to restore the deficit that has accumulated. There is rain forecast through Friday and Saturday but that is expected as thunderstorms which will not produce the needed general rain over the whole watershed. Warm weather is forecast to continue through next week which will cause…
With little rain over the last two weeks, the Moderate Drought conditions continue in the Rideau watershed. The accumulated precipitation over the last 90 days is less than 60% of the long term average for this time of year which is the threshold for Moderate Drought. No significant rain is presently in weather forecasts for the next week but hot temperatures are. This means that evaporation will be a significant component of the water level decline process throughout the watershed.
The precipitation indicator for Moderate Drought of 60% of normal was reached last Sunday. Rainfall since then has had a minimal impact and conditions remain very dry. Flows in the Rideau River at Ottawa are at 25% of normal for the time of year. Two of the major tributary streams, Jock River and Kemptville Creek, are both flowing at about 6% of normal. The Tay River is in relatively better shape benefitting from outflow from Bobs Lake, one of the Rideau Canal reservoir lakes. Smaller streams are intermittent or dry and aquatic habitat is compromised for all species.
With no rain until Monday in weather forecasts, it is expected that the drought status for the Rideau River watershed will pass the threshold from Minor to Moderate Severity by Sunday. The amount of rain forecast for Monday will do little to reverse the trend of deepening drought. Flows in the Rideau River at Ottawa are 15% of normal for the time of year. Larger tributary streams are about 6% of normal and many small streams are intermittent or dry. Aquatic habitat is becoming limited for all species.
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…
Rain on June 5 was sufficient to improve the drought status to minor severity on the Rideau watershed. Streamflows and water levels increased as a result of the rain from about 10 percent of normal for the time of year to 50 percent. However, such flows are typically seen in mid-July to early August. Little rain is forecast for the next two weeks which means that water levels can be expected to drop noticeably throughout the watershed again.
With little effective rainfall on the Rideau watershed for the last two months, the drought status is now moderately severe. Except for some intense rainfall in the downtown core of Ottawa last Friday and Saturday, conditions have continued to be very dry in the Rideau River watershed. Rainfall recorded at Environment Canada climate stations over the last three months is now at 60% of normal for the time of year. This means that Moderate Drought status has been reached.
With no rain over the last ten days and less than 30% of normal for the last 30 days, the Rideau River watershed is on the verge of minor drought conditions. Precipitation measured at Environment Canada climate stations in and around the watershed show that about 80% of normal for the time of year has fallen in the last 90 days. This means that minor drought status has been reached. Municipal watering restrictions could be imposed to limit the volume of water extracted from groundwater and surface water sources. It is recommended that those living in residences served by private…
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Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
3889 Rideau Valley Drive
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A5

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