One of the most important responsibilities of Otonabee Conservation is protecting people and property from flooding.
Human activity, settlement and climate change can all impact the hydrologic cycle and result in changes to the frequency and magnitude of flood events. This, combined with intensified development in the hazardous flood zone adjacent to watercourses, means that floods have become the most common and most taxing type of disaster faced by today’s area residents and municipalities causing losses of material assets, and cultural and ecological resources.
Otonabee Conservation operates a flood forecasting and warning program which involves:
- monitoring weather conditions and river flows to know when flooding is possible;
- issuing flood messages to alert municipal flood coordinators and the public about coming high water;
- providing the Flood Watch Hotline (705-745-5791, ext. 228); and,
- controlling development in flood-prone areas to reduce potential property damage.
Flood Forecasting and Warning
The purpose of the flood forecasting and warning service is to prevent loss of life and reduce damage to property by providing residents and municipal officials with as much advance notice, information and advice as possible regarding an impending flood so that they can prepare themselves and optimize the municipal response.
Otonabee Conservation works in partnership with member municipalities and other government agencies, including the Trent-Severn Waterway and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The Flood Forecasting and Warning Duty Officer monitors weather information (temperature and precipitation), river flows, snow pack and ice conditions in order to predict when floods will occur and how high the water may rise. When flooding is possible, or about to occur, Otonabee Conservation issues a flood message to municipal emergency management officials and the media.
Otonabee Conservation issues four types of flood messages, depending on existing conditions.
Normal – Conditions are within normal limits. No flooding is expected.
Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety
Water Safety Statement – High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook
Flood Outlook Statement – Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.
Preparing for floods
If you experience a flood emergency, dial 911 immediately!
Learn how what you can do to deal with floods on our Preparing for floods page.