After a very dry May, June, and July, the Otonabee Region watershed received multiple soaking rainfall events during the month of August. At a meeting on September 15, the Otonabee Region Water Response Team therefore downgraded the Level 2 Low Water Condition, first declared on July 7, to a Level 1.
The Level 1 Low Water Condition is now in effect because the total monthly rainfall receipts, as measured at seven locations across the Region, ranged from 42% to 75% above normal for August. August’s well-above normal rainfall receipts brought relief to surface water levels/flows across the Region. This follows a three-month period when the Region experienced the fourth driest May/June/July on record – a record that goes back 153 years to Confederation.
“August’s multiple soaking rainfall events have broken the current drought and brought conditions to within a normal range for most areas of the watershed,” states Gordon Earle, Water Resources Technologist with Otonabee Conservation, “But, the drought is not truly over as there is still some evidence of rainfall deficits and low surface water levels/flows in the Region.”
Three-month precipitation totals have rebounded at the majority of monitoring locations, but there are still two stations located near Peterborough and Westwood, Ontario indicating notable deficits.
Earle further explains, “Monitoring of the Ouse River and Baxter Creek watersheds shows that they have returned to normal levels/flows, but Jackson Creek in the City of Peterborough is still experiencing markedly lower than normal water levels/flows for this time of year.”
In order for the Region’s soil moisture, surface water levels/flows, and groundwater resources to fully return to normal, we must experience normal rainfall patterns and amounts during September and October.
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%. This includes municipalities, aggregate operations, golf courses, and private users.
To reduce water use by 10%, Otonabee Conservation offers the following water conservation tips:
- Water gardens wisely and 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
- For more ideas to conserve water, download the Water Conservation Fact Sheet from our website
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 the coming days to review the current situation. The Level 1 Low Water Condition, urging 10% water conservation, will remain in effect until further notice.
More information on the Low Water Response Program is available on the Otonabee Conservation website at otonabeeconservation.com.
For more information contact:
Dan Marinigh | CAO\Secretary-Treasurer
firstname.lastname@example.org | 705-745-3238 x222