Ganaraska Watershed – After an extremely dry month of May, the watersheds of the Ganaraska Region have entered a Level 1 low water condition. As a result, the Ganaraska region Conservation Authority is asking residents and business’ to voluntarily reduce their water use.
A lack of rainfall over the past three months has caused below normal stream flows for this time of year and declining soil moisture and groundwater levels. Recent rainfalls have been in the 6-12mm range which is not enough to reverse the downward trend in water 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 Cobourg Creek, Gages Creek, Ganaraska River, Port Britain Creek, Graham Creek, Wilmot Creek and other numerous smaller tributaries of Rice Lake and Lake Ontario.
In the major catchments, the recorded flows are above 100% 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 May 3rd, the precipitation volumes have been very low. Weather stations operated by the GRCA recorded an average of 73% of the normally expected precipitation. These numbers are based on the three month accumulated totals from March 1st to May 31st, 2021 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 resources.
The GRCA encourages water users to be aware of water consumption rates 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 Mike Smith, Water Resources Technician or Cory Harris, Watershed Services Coordinator at 905-885-8173 during regular business hours or 289-251-1010 or 298-251-2094 (after normal business hours).