Low Water Update | May 20, 2021

Otonabee Region Low Water Response Team is NOT declaring a drought condition, at this time

Peterborough, Ontario (May 20, 2021) The Otonabee Region Water Response Team (WRT) met on May 18th to review streamflow data along with air temperature and precipitation receipts to determine if the watershed is experiencing a drought condition.

The WRT is watching levels and long-term data carefully, as the Region has experienced anomalies and great variability in precipitation, temperature, and streamflow throughout 2020. Now, a similar pattern is emerging in 2021, including a milder than usual January, an earlier and weaker than normal Spring freshet, and so far, a drier and hotter than normal May. According to the climatological record for Peterborough, which dates back to Confederation, this pattern has never before occurred in 2 consecutive years.

After reviewing the data, the WRT has decided not to declare a low water condition at this time and will reconvene in June to review data collected throughout the month of May 2021. A key factor in future decisions will be based on May’s precipitation receipts as they are currently below normal.

At the end of April 2021, the 3-month precipitation total at the Peterborough Airport was only 7.3 mm above the Level 1 drought threshold; at least 23.4 mm of precipitation is needed in May to keep the total from dropping below the Level 1 drought threshold and currently, we have only received 11.3 mm this month.

Similarly, the 18-month precipitation deficit at the end of April 2021 was 252.7 mm below normal, which is about 30% of the entire year’s precipitation and 4.8 mm below a Level 1 drought threshold; we will need at least 31.6 mm of rain in May to raise the 18-month precipitation total above the Level 1 drought threshold.

As part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program, The Otonabee Region Water Response Team is a collaboration of representatives from Otonabee Conservation, local municipalities, water management agencies, tourism, cottage and agriculture sectors, provincial and federal agencies, and First Nations.

To learn more about the Otonabee Region Water Response Program, visit otonabeeconservation.com.

For more information contact:

Dan Marinigh | CAO
Otonabee Conservation
dmarinigh@otonabeeconservation.com | 705-745-5791 ext.222