Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety – Update May 11, 2018

Subject: This is an update to the WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY notification that was first issued May 7th for all watercourses / waterbodies in the geographical jurisdiction of the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA). This  WATER SAFETY STATEMENT was issued because of the combination of slippery / unstable banks, high water levels / flows and cold water temperatures creating dangerous conditions on and around area watercourses / waterbodies.

 Issued to: Municipalities of Selwyn (SEL), Douro-Dummer (DD), Asphodel-Norwood (AN), Otonabee-South Monaghan (OSM), Cavan Monaghan (CM), City of Kawartha Lakes (CKL), City of Peterborough (CP) and Trent Hills (TH), as well as ORCA’s other partners in flood emergency management.

WEATHERFrom the last week of March through the first week of May, air masses from the north and south have been doing battle over the Haliburton Lakes and Kawartha Lakes regions producing very turbulent weather as regional-scale low pressure storms moved through the regions bringing with them widespread precipitation. For example, during the month of April, precipitation was received on 19 of 30 days, with the total monthly amounts recorded being as much as 245% of the historical average. Now, however, the warm air masses from the south are winning the battle, and as a result, more stable conditions are dominating the Haliburton Lakes and Kawartha Lakes regions. The 7-day weather forecast, for example, is for mostly sunny days, double-digit high air temperatures, and only minimal / trace precipitation receipts.


Higher than normal precipitation and increasingly warmer air temperatures experienced as winter changed to spring translated to snowmelt, frost leaving the ground, saturated soils, raised groundwater levels, high run-off values, and persistent high water levels / flows in the local watershed region. Low-lying areas also experienced surface ponding and nuisance / minor level flooding during this period. Drier conditions are now dominating, and therefore, surface ponding has ended and flood waters have receded back into the normal confines from which they earlier escaped. Given the current 7-day forecast, ground conditions will continue to get drier and water levels / flows will continue to recede.

KAWARTHA LAKES, OTONABEE RIVER, and RICE LAKE The inflows to the Kawartha Lakes from the Haliburton Lakes region have declined dramatically during the past week. As a result, most of the Kawartha Lakes are now within their respective navigation ranges (also known as “summer level”). The two exceptions are the tri-lakes (Buckhorn, Chemong & Pigeon) and the combined lakes of Stoney and Clear. However, these too will be within navigation range by Monday, May 14th. During the past week as most of the Kawartha Lakes reached navigation range, water levels / flows on the Otonabee River and Rice Lake dropped. They will continue declining as the remaining Kawartha Lakes also coming into navigation range.

SAFETY URGED: Whether in the water or along the water’s edge, the ORCA advises residents and visitors to use extreme caution. The ORCA also reminds area residents and visitors to keep away from all water conveyance structures (e.g., dams, culverts and bridges).