Rainfall in eastern Ontario has been widely varied since late July. What rain that has fallen in the Kemptville Creek sub-watershed has had little effect on flows with much of it infiltrating into the soil and retained in wetlands. The Creek is down to intermittent pools in some sections. Beaver have been active, building dams that contribute to the ponding. At the same time, they are creating pools upstream of their dams they are causing or expanding dry sections downstream. The ponding on Kemptville Creek and other streams has left fish and other aquatic populations to cope with confined spaces, warmer water and declining oxygen concentrations.
Conditions in the rest of the Rideau watershed are closer to “Minor” Severity which has been in place for the last two weeks. Much less rain than was forecast fell on Thursday and Friday last week. Water levels continue to decline and all monitoring stations are showing levels below average. Rain is forecast for tomorrow but, with weather systems as erratic as they have been, it remains to be seen how significant an impact there will be.
The Rideau Canal reservoir lakes all continue to have levels below normal. Sufficient draft is still available for boats on the system but caution is advised. Other lakes have also had falling water levels and aquatic plants and algae are thriving on some due to the warm temperatures and shallower depths.
Longer range forecasts indicate warmer and dryer conditions than normal through the rest of the summer and into the fall. If that forecast comes to pass, flows and levels can be expected to fall well below normal.
Water conservation should be practiced by everyone within the Rideau River watershed. Various actions all contribute to the conservation of our water resources. Municipalities may have invoked water restrictions and burn bans so check your municipal website for applicable bylaws. Those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible.
Conservation Authority staff continue to monitor conditions and communicate with water managers throughout the watershed. Updates to this message will be issued as conditions warrant.
Other relevant information sources are:
Ministry of Environment and Climate Change: https://www.ontario.ca/page/managing-your-water-well-times-water-shortage
Ontario’s Low Water Response program: https://www.ontario.ca/page/low-water-response-program
RVCA website: www.rvca.ca
Hourly and daily streamflows and water levels: https://www.rvca.ca/watershed-monitoring-reporting/reporting/streamflow-water-levels
Patrick Larson, RVCA Senior Water Resources Technician
Rideau Valley Conservation Authority
613-692-6831, 1-800-267-3504 ext. 1210