CRCA Addresses Low Water Conditions Along Millhaven Creek

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Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) has issued a release following inquiries from concerned residents along Millhaven creek asking if the dam(s) can be opened further to increase flow in the creek:

Below average rainfall over the last two months has resulted in low water conditions in Millhaven Creek, a system that runs from Gould Lake north of Sydenham down through Odessa into Lake Ontario at Millhaven [pictured above].

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s three-month weather outlook suggests that drier than normal conditions may persist for the next few months and into the fall.

Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) staff closely monitor creek flows and water levels, and manage two water control structures (dams) on Millhaven Creek, namely, the Sydenham Lake Dam in Sydenham and the Wilton Road Dam in Odessa. The reservoirs (i.e. lakes) and outflow structures associated with these dams provide CRCA staff with limited ability to sustainably augment creek flow when conditions are dry.

CRCA staff have received inquiries from residents along the creek concerned about the low water conditions and questions about whether the dam(s) can be opened further to increase flow in the creek.


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The water level of Odessa Lake, at the Wilton Road Dam, is already below the target level for this time of year. Increasing flow through the dam would cause the level to fall, creating a risk that flow could not be augmented later in the year. Significant rainfall is necessary to improve this situation.

Sydenham Lake is just below the summer target water level and is currently falling. Without significant rainfall it is anticipated that Sydenham Lake will continue a gradual decline.

Water users in the affected area and throughout the watershed, especially those supplied by groundwater and shore wells, are asked to try to conserve water where they can; this includes minimizing lawn and garden watering and washing of driveways, sidewalks, cars, etc. Residents along the creek are also reminded that small dams, constructed by beavers or otherwise, can impact downstream water users negatively.

CRCA appreciates feedback from the public to track low water conditions. Please consider filling out our online “Low Water Concern” form at www.crca.ca/low-water.

CRCA staff will continue to monitor flows and water levels closely and will endeavour to manage the dams with water users’ short-term and long-term interests in mind. Updates will be provided as necessary.


Release: CRCA.ca | Photo: Google