CRCA Extends Severe Drought Conditions for Cataraqui Region

Published on: 2016/09/01 - in Featured Releases

This week, the Cataraqui Water Response Team decided to maintain the Severe drought declaration, despite the rainfall received over the past  two weeks.

Grass and other vegetation has greened up considerably with the rain, and while creeks and groundwater levels have responded to the rainfall, they are still very, very low, and conditions are still much drier than normal for this time of year. Until conditions show an improvement, the Water Response Team will maintain the Severe drought declaration.

The creeks in the western part of the CRCA (from Kingston to the west) have shown a response to the recent rainfall, and flows have risen to what was seen in early July. The eastern part of the CRCA has not had nearly as much rain, and has shown minimal response.

Lake levels had risen with the recent rainfall, and while they are still lower than normal for this time of year, they are closer to normal by a few centimetres. However, the last week of dry, hot weather has meant that evaporation has started dropping the levels again. It may be that just a short respite from falling levels has been what the rainfall has provided.

Lake levels are still above winter levels, and at this time are not expected to impact this year’s winter ice levels, but may mean problems for removing boats and docks from lakes this fall.

Agricultural fields have benefited from the rainfall, but some crops are still showing signs of stress due to the prolonged lack of rainfall.

There are still areas with dry wells across the region (concentrated in the western part of the CRCA), including some wells that have gone dry after the recent rainfall. The Water Response Team continues to recommend water conservation across the CRCA, and eastern Ontario, given the continuing dry conditions, and the potential for dry conditions to continue through the fall months.

Low water conditions are determined by the Cataraqui Region Water Response Team (WRT) convened by the CRCA. Membership includes water managers, major water users, public health, agriculture, school boards, marina operators, golf courses, government agencies, dam operators and others

The Water Response Team recommends water conservation across the jurisdiction, for all water users, residential and commercial, especially those areas that are supplied by a ground water well or shore well.

The team is asking residents and businesses of the region to be wary of water usage, and try to conserve water anywhere they can; this includes the outside watering of plants and lawns, and washing driveways, sidewalks, cars, etc. Permit to Take Water holders are also encouraged to reduce water takings during this exceptionally dry time.

Those residents relying on wells and shore wells should be concerned that, as the drought continues, their water supply may run dry, and should plan for what to do when their primary source of water runs dry.

The CRCA WRT declared a Minor drought condition on May 26th, upgraded that condition to Moderate on July 5th, and upgraded to a Severe drought condition on August 10th.

The CRCA has numerous water conservation web links on their website’s Resources for Wise Water Use page.

A “Minor” drought condition is the first of three levels and reflects concern. “Moderate” suggests a potentially serious problem. “Severe” indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand.

The declaration of “Severe” conditions is not a declaration of an emergency, but an indicator of the severe dry conditions, and impacts being felt across the CRCA as a result. Any declarations of emergency are a municipal decision.

The CRCA will continue to monitor conditions, and will provide updates as conditions change.

In order to track impacts of the drought conditions in the watershed, we request that any individuals or businesses in the Cataraqui Region who may be experiencing difficulties with their wells (groundwater and shore), or are seeing other signs of watershed stress due to the dry conditions, please contact the Conservation Authority by calling 613-546-4228 or 1-877-956-CRCA(2722), ext. 241, or fill in the survey on our website

Release source: Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority