MVCA declares minor drought

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WATERSHED — The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) declared a minor drought condition for the watershed today (Sept. 19)

“This statement is to advise that present conditions in the Mississippi River watershed are now at the threshold for Level 1 Minor Drought status under the Ontario Low Water Response Program,” MVCA water management supervisor Gord Mountenay released in a statement this morning. “Dry weather continues to dominate the Mississippi Valley watershed, causing flows and levels to drop, specifically on the major tributaries of the Mississippi River – the Clyde, Fall and Indian Rivers.”

Levels and flows have been slowly declining through August and early September with no significant relief in the form of rainfall in the long-range forecast.

“Annual fall drawdown operations on the upper lakes will proceed as usual,” Mountenay said. “The increase in flows will help the main branch of the Mississippi River but will have no impact on those aforementioned tributaries.”

Water conservation is recommended for everyone within the Mississippi River watershed.

“Those who have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible,” Mountenay said. “Residents on private well systems are also urged to use water conservatively.”

Using rain barrels to capture any rain to water lawns and gardens, and avoid using pressure washers to clean houses, driveways, decks and fences all contribute to the conservation of our water resources. Municipalities may have invoked water restrictions, so check your municipality’s website for water restriction bylaws.

Daily water levels and flows are available on the MVCA website.

“In order to track impacts of the drought conditions within the watershed, we request that any individuals or business within the Mississippi Valley watershed that are experiencing difficulties with their wells please contact the Conservation Authority by calling 613-253-0006 ext. 233 or 243,” Mountenay said. “We have established a survey form on our web site that residents can fill out to assist in documenting the effects of the drought as well.”

This form is located here.

Other relevant information sources include:

Ministry of Environment and Climate Change

Ontario’s Low Water Response program