Level 1 drought continues | July 7, 2021

Despite recent rainfall events, the Level 1 Low Water Condition continues in the Otonabee Region watershed.

The Otonabee Region Water Response Team (WRT) has declared a continuation of the Level 1 drought originally declared last month due to persistent dry conditions. The rainfall events that we received throughout the month of June were not enough to pull us out the low water condition.

Otonabee Conservation analyzes the condition of the watershed monthly, as part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program and low water status is determined based on the available data including air temperature, precipitation, and stream flow.

Enough rain fell during the last week of June to bring the total 1-month precipitation receipts above the Level 1 drought threshold, however it was not enough to raise the 3-month totals over the Level 1 drought threshold.

“1-month precipitation receipts give us an indicator of a short-term drought, while 3-month precipitation levels give us an indicator of a seasonal drought,” explains Gordon Earle, Water Resources Technologist at Otonabee Conservation, “Five of our watershed’s seven precipitation recording stations measured 3-month rainfall receipts that were below 80% of normal in June, which indicates that the seasonal drought continues; additionally, 18-month totals did not improve, so there is a concern for a long-term drought, as well.”

In addition to not receiving enough rain, the mean monthly flows on Jackson Creek deteriorated to their lowest level since February, and similarly, the Ouse River saw its lowest flow levels in 2021.

Under the Ontario Low Water Response Program, when a Level 1 low water condition occurs, all water users are asked to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 10 percent. This includes municipalities, aggregate operations, golf courses, water bottlers, farm irrigation, and private users.

To reduce water use by 10%, please see the following water conservation tips for around the home:

  • Water gardens wisely or use stored rainwater from a rain barrel
  • Adhere to municipal watering restrictions that may apply
  • Do not wash driveways or wash automobiles in driveways – use a broom / visit a carwash
  • Well users can refer to tips for managing your water well in times of shortage

The Otonabee Region Water Response Team, with representatives from local municipalities, water management agencies, the community, provincial and federal agencies, and Otonabee Conservation, will meet in early August to review the current situation and data collected throughout July.

For more information contact:                  
Dan Marinigh | CAO \ Secretary-Treasurer | Otonabee Conservation
dmarinigh@otonabeeconservation.com | 705-745-3238 x222