Re: WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – Low Water Update # 6 – September 29, 2016
WATERSHED REMAINS IN LEVEL III / SEVERE DROUGHT/ Drawdown of Kashwakamak, Mississagagon and Big Gull Lakes to Start Early
September 29, 2016 MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WATERSHED— Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) Low Water Response Team (LWRT) is advising residents that despite an average rainfall total for September rainfall, the entire watershed remains at a Level III / Severe status. Conditions across the watershed have stabilized but have not responded positively to the precipitation.
Crotch Lake is now at a level that no longer allows it to be used to augment flows downstream, so to maintain some flow through the system, the drawdown on the upper lakes that normally starts after Thanksgiving will begin next week. Residents on Kashwakamak, Big Gull and Mississagagon Lakes are advised that water levels will begin to drop next week.
“The lakes in the upper part of the watershed are already at the lower end of the operating range for this time of year, so beginning the drawdown earlier creates a number of issues for us,” indicates Gord Mountenay, Water Management Supervisor of the MVCA. “The top logs in most of these dams are already dry, so removing them doesn’t help downstream conditions. Although we are starting the process about two weeks early, we will be effectively a month ahead of schedule as far as levels on the lakes are concerned. We also don’t have as much water available to us to refill the system, so if this drought continues the question on whether we drop the lakes to a normal winter holding level or maintain them higher comes into effect. That would also impact how much water is available to augment downstream flows.”
MVCA continues to advise the general public to use extreme caution while out on area waterways for recreational purposes (swimming, boating).
The LWRT continues to urge those residents and residents on well systems to use water conservatively. Water conservation is recommended for everyone within the watershed although it is less critical in the urban area of Ottawa that is served by a water system which draws water from the Ottawa River.
Those businesses or residents that have permits for taking water from surface or groundwater sources are encouraged to reduce their actual taking as much as possible. Using rain barrels to capture any rain to water lawns and gardens, and avoidance of using pressure washers to clean houses, driveways, decks and fences all contribute to the conservation of our water resources. Municipalities may have invoked water restrictions, so check your municipality’s website for water restriction bylaws. For more water conservation tips visit www.mvc.on.ca.
In order to track impacts and define the severity of the drought conditions within the watershed, we request that any individuals or businesses within the Mississippi Valley watershed that are experiencing difficulties with their wells please contact the Conservation Authority by calling 613-253-0006 ext. 233 or 243. There is a questionnaire on our website that can be filled out by the public that have witnessed environmental concerns or issues with dry wells to assist in documenting this event.
Daily water levels and flows are available on the MVCA website at http://mvc.on.ca/water-levels/ .