June 03, 2016

Drought Condition Deepens

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.

At this state, small streams are going dry and flows in larger streams are well below normal. Fish habitat is being affected. Water levels on the lakes in the upper half of the watershed are declining. The Rideau Canal reservoir lakes will need to be drawn down below targets to maintain adequate levels throughout the Canal system.

Staff at the Smiths Falls Drinking Water Treatment Plant are seeing an increase of organic material in the source water with the declining water levels which require more intensive treatment. Similar conditions can occur in Perth with reduced water levels. In neither case does this compromise the quality of the finished water.

There is rain in the weather forecasts but it remains to be seen how much and how widely distributed it will be. Several days of generalized rain over the whole watershed will be needed to restore water levels to seasonal averages. Flows in the Jock River and Kemptville Creek are about 10% of normal for this time of year and are less than flows that are normally seen in late August.

Those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible and residents on wells will need to use water carefully. Residents throughout the watershed should be aware of any bans or bylaws that may be in place in their municipalities regarding fires or water use. There is less of a concern for residents of urban Ottawa because the City of Ottawa central drinking water system draws from the Ottawa River. Nevertheless, water conservation is recommended for everyone in the watershed as a normal practise.

Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed through the Rideau Valley Water Response Team. An update of this statement will be issued on Thursday, June 9th or sooner if warranted.

To learn more about Ontario’s Low Water Response program visit  their website. Also, visit the RVCA website  for local conditions. 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.

Contact Us

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

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



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

Member of: conservation ontario