(WCS – R04/2023)
RIDEAU VALLEY, March 30, 2023 – A Flood Watch has been issued for the Rideau Valley as a rainy weekend mixes with the residual snowpack still intact in some areas after a cool March. Potential flooding could begin to impact low-lying areas as early as Saturday and continue throughout next week.
Since early March, we have experienced a very gradual snow melt with some precipitation across the Rideau Valley Watershed. As such, snow remains in some parts of our watershed, most prominently in the City of Ottawa and the Tay River watershed, which indicates a potential for flooding in low-lying areas adjacent to any rivers, creeks or ditches.
The short-term weather forecast indicates rain amounts of 20-30 mm and mild temperatures on Saturday April 1, with cooler temperatures on Sunday. The longer-term forecast indicates milder temperatures throughout next week with potential rain.
Based on the above forecast, water levels and flows are expected to increase in all waterways in the Rideau Valley Watershed, beginning on Saturday and continuing throughout next week. The degree of increase will depend on precipitation amounts and temperatures, and may result in flooding within the following areas:
- Smaller creeks and streams in the lower Rideau Valley Watershed, including in the City of Ottawa. This includes low-lying roads and waterfront properties adjacent to Stevens Creek and any connected creeks or ditches (near North Gower), and agricultural lands along Cranberry Creek.
- The Rideau River near Becketts Landing and Kemptville Creek, particularly the areas around Hilly Lane, Rideau Glen Lane, Golf Course Lane, and Barts Lane. Access concerns may arise for Cedar Beach Lane.
- The Rideau River near Kars, particularly the areas around Lorne Bridge Road and Rideau Street South.
With the elevated conditions, potential exists for further impacts if significant additional rain were to occur before the water levels and flows begin to recede.
Water levels in upper watershed lakes are presently near normal for this time of year. Parks Canada staff who manage water levels for the Rideau Canal will closely monitor these water levels and have indicated that the levels are expected to rise as the snowpack continues to melt.
City of Ottawa crews have completed their annual ice removal program on the Rideau River between Rideau Falls and Bronson Avenue.
With changing water levels expected over the coming days, ice cover on lakes, ditches, local streams and rivers will continue to be unstable. Extreme caution should be exercised when near local waterbodies. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.
As temperatures continue to rise, the potential for ice jams remains high in some local streams and rivers, as flows could quickly increase before the ice can melt. Residents are advised to monitor their local river closely for signs of ice jams as spring progresses. RVCA staff will be monitoring conditions but we always welcome unique observations from watershed residents.
Flooding along roadways is also a concern due to current snow/ice buildup on roadside ditches.
Residents in flood-prone or low-lying areas that are historically susceptible to flooding should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve
- Ensuring easy access to a portable backup generator and pump
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 metres from the dwelling
- Securing items that might float away as flows increase
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
- Keeping emergency phone numbers handy
- Familiarizing yourself with your municipality’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
This watershed conditions statement is in effect until Tuesday, April 11, 2023 and may be updated at that time unless the forecast or conditions change.
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Contact: Brian Stratton, RVCA Manager Engineering Services
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-6804, 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1141
"Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is a partnership of municipalities within the Rideau Valley watershed
created under the Conservation Authorities Act to deliver a range of programs in watershed management and
natural resource conservation."
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.