Otonabee Conservation issues Level 1 low water condition

full bike rack

Jackson Park with creek in view

Peterborough, ON - Otonabee Conservation is issuing a Level 1 low water condition declaration due to persistent dry conditions throughout the Otonabee Region watershed. Otonabee Conservation analyzes the condition of the watershed monthly, as part of the Ontario Low Water Response Program and low water status is determined based on the available data including temperature, precipitation, and stream flow.

The watershed experienced an earlier than normal Spring freshet combined with an extremely dry May, which has resulted in below normal stream flows in May that are just above drought thresholds. However, May’s precipitation totals were 63.8% of normal, when normally, it is the 3rd wettest month of the year. May 2021 saw three consecutive weeks without rain and is now the fourth driest May on record!

Under the Ontario Low Water Response Program, when a Level 1 low water condition occurs, all water users are asked to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 10%. This includes municipalities, aggregate operations, golf courses, water bottlers, farm irrigation, and private users.

To reduce water use by 10%, please see the following water conservation tips for around the home:

  • Water gardens wisely or use stored rainwater from a rain barrel
  • Adhere to municipal watering restrictions that may apply
  • Do not wash driveways or wash automobiles in driveways – use a broom / visit a carwash
  • Check faucets, toilets, outdoor spigots, sprinklers, and other irrigations systems for leaks and fix them

The Otonabee Region Water Response Team, with representatives from local municipalities, water management agencies, the community, provincial and federal agencies, and Otonabee Conservation, will meet in July to review the data collected in June.

“We will need to receive a minimum of 97.5 mm of rain in June to raise the 3-month precipitation total and to recover from the Level 1 Low Water Condition,” Explains Gordon Earle, Water Resources Technologist at Otonabee Conservation, “To avoid dropping into a Level 2, we will require no less than 51.5 mm of rain in June.”

While the data indicates that we are experiencing a seasonal drought, climate stations in our watershed are showing longer term deficits that are below the Level 1 drought threshold, and which may indicate a long-term drought. A minimum of 87.6 mm of precipitation needs to be received in June to raise this indicator above the long-term drought threshold.

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For more information contact:

Dan Marinigh | CAO / Secretary-Treasurer
Otonabee Conservation
dmarinigh@otonabeeconservation.com | 705-745-3238 x222