Rideau Valley watershed reaches ‘minor dry’ conditions

RIDEAU VALLEY – Warm, dry weather has led the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA) declare the watershed has reached the Minor Low Water levels.

“As the warm, dry weather continues, conditions in the Rideau Valley watershed now meet the threshold for Minor Low Water status under the Ontario Low Water Response Program,” the RVCA released in a statement today (Aug. 15). “Watershed residents and businesses are encouraged to conserve water during dry conditions.”

After a cool and wet spring with very significant flooding in some areas, July and August have been mostly warm and dry across the Rideau Valley watershed, with some localized rainfall in early August.

The average 90-day rainfall measured at climate stations in and around the watershed is just shy of 80 per cent of normal for this time of year, which is a key indicator for Minor Low Water status. In the past 30 days, average rainfall has been about 40 per cent of normal.

“Looking ahead, the seven-day weather forecasts suggests we’ll continue to experience above-average temperatures and minimal precipitation, and conditions are expected to decline,” the RVCA said. “For the most part, water levels in lakes and rivers are close to normal for this time of year. However, we expect water levels will start to decline more noticeably in the near future. Outflows from the Rideau Canal’s reservoir lakes have recently been increased to compensate for the water level declines in river reaches downstream, including the Tay River and Big Rideau Lake. However, there is still sufficient water for Parks Canada to state that draft and navigation are normal throughout the Rideau Canal system inside the Rideau Valley watershed.”

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.