Be Flood Prepared

Last year was a record-breaking year of water for Ontario; which was the complete opposite of drought-ridden 2016. So much rain fell that Lake Ontario swelled to record high water levels by the end of May. Flooding and erosion along the shoreline of Lake Ontario became a top news story; damages occurred to public properties; and shoreline bluffs eroded at an accelerated rate.

What Property Owners Need To Do — Assess their personal emergency plan for minimizing flood-related property damages. Should flooding occur, the first response is up to the individual homeowners. If the flood is beyond the capability of the homeowner, the municipal Emergency Response Plan kicks in. To get up-to-date information on watershed conditions, property owners should sign up for GRCA flood forecasting and warning emails —subscribe by emailing Mike Smith, Water Resource Technician at If you would like to know if your property is in the floodplain and what can be done to make your property more resilient to flooding, contact GRCA at 905-885-8173.

What Municipalities Do — They are responsible for emergency response services during serious flood events. Please contact your local municipality should you have local flooding issues where assistance is needed. Property owners, especially in vulnerable areas need to have these emergency phone numbers handy.

What the GRCA Does — Flood operations at the Conservation Authority were active monitoring these conditions and documenting the impacts. Staff provided advanced warning by issuing Watershed Conditions Statements, and Flood Watches and Warnings in order to communicate the potential hazards that were present during these high water events. These include:

Normal Conditions — no flood conditions exist

Level 1: Water Safety Statements —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

Level 1: Flood Outlook Statements — 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, lake shore flooding or erosion

Level 2: Flood Watch — Be prepared to activate your flood response plans, if it becomes necessary. Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare

Level 3: Flood Warning — Activate your flood response procedures now! Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities

How GRCA Does It — GRCA uses stream gauges, weather stations, surveys of snow conditions, meterological forecasts and computer models to determine the potential for flooding. When spring melt or severe storms are anticipated, GRCA estimates the severity, location, and timing of possible flooding and warns accordingly based on the Flood Conditions above.

Want to know more? Please do not hesiate to contact the GRCA.