On July 16, 2020, the Ganaraska Region Water Response Team confirmed a level 1 low water condition for its watersheds. A lack of rainfall over the past three months has caused below normal flows in local streams for this time of year and rapidly declining soil moisture and groundwater levels.
Based on provincial guidelines, local watersheds have entered into a level 1 low water condition because of below normal precipitation levels. The affected major watersheds are Midtown Creek, Cobourg Creek, Gages Creek, Ganaraska River, Port Britain Creek, Graham Creek, Wilmot Creek, Plainville Creek, Harwood Creek and other numerous smaller tributaries of Rice Lake and Lake Ontario
In the major catchments, the recorded flows are above 90% of the lowest average month flows (August) for the long term period of record. This is due to high water retention in the largely forested headwaters of our systems. However, since April the precipitation volumes have been very low. Weather stations operated by the GRCA recorded an average of 75% of the normally expected precipitation. These numbers are based on the three month accumulated totals from April 1st to June 30th 2020 compared to historic averages over a 30 year record. More consistent rainfall is needed as the summer progresses to prevent water supply shortages in streams and groundwater.
The GRCA encourages water users to be aware of water consumption and conservation in an effort to reduce water use by 10%. These measures will help to avoid further water shortages in the coming months and prevent negative impacts on aquatic life should below normal rainfall amounts continue.
The Conservation Authority will continue to monitor local conditions and provide updates as conditions warrant. For further information, please contact the following GRCA staff at 905-885-8173 during regular business hours or 289-251-1010 or 289-251-2094 (after normal business hours).
Mike Smith, B.Sc. Cory Harris, P.Eng.
Water Resource Technician Watershed Services Coordinator