March 11, 2016

Early Freshet in Full Swing

An unusually warm string of temperatures that are forecast to continue through next week are rapidly reducing the snowpack. Flows in all watercourses have increased significantly over the last two days. This increase will continue through the weekend until the snow cover is gone on Sunday night. Further increases in water levels will depend on whether or not the 10 to 20 millimetres of rain presently forecast for Monday to Wednesday occurs and when it falls.

The impact of the melt and rain is expected to be a peak flow on March 17 in the order of 280 cubic metres per second as measured at the streamgauge at Carleton University. Such a flow is below average and not expected to cause flooding of any more than lowest lying areas along the streams and rivers in the watershed.

Ice removal is ongoing on the Rideau above Rideau Falls. The removal will be greatly aided by the early spring flows and warm temperatures. Compared to last year when City of Ottawa crews had to contend with thick ice, low flows and prolonged cool temperatures, this year is likely to be a much shorter process (more information: City of Ottawa information at 311).

With the increasing levels on lakes and flows in the streams over the next week, caution around water is advised. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.

RVCA will continue to monitor conditions and will issue further statements when or if there is an indication that the situation can be expected to change significantly

RVCA Watershed Conditions Statements:

Water Safety – High flows, unstable banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.

Flood Outlook – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts, calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams and/or lakeshore flooding or erosion.

Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individuals in flood prone areas should prepare.

Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.

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