Still not enough rain for Eastern Ontario
Still not enough rain for the summer in Eastern Ontario. That has forced the regional conservation office to declare a drought condition alert for two areas in the South Nation River watershed region.
The South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC) has classed two sub-watershed areas of the South Nation River watershed as now under level III (severe) drought conditions. The change in classification became official on Aug. 31.
The areas involved are the Bearbrook Creek and Upper South Nation River subwatersheds. Both were part of the level II drought conditions classification listing of the SNC on July 8. But streamflow in both sub-watersheds have declined further since then and are now at 30 per cent of their normal summertime flow.
“More water restrictions we’re recommending,” said Golam Sharif, SNC water resources technician, regarding the impact of a level III drought condition.
The Bearbrook sub-watershed includes parts of Clarence-Rockland, including the villages of Bourget, Cheney, and Hammond, and extends westwards into the City of Ottawa’s eastern rural sector, including the villages of Navan, Sarsfield, and Carlsbad Springs. A part of the sub-watershed extends south into Russell Township and The Nation Municiplaity and includes the Village of Limoges. The Upper South Nation sub-watershed covers parts of North and South Dundas townships in Dundas County, and includes the villages of Spencerville, Mountain, South Mountain, and Inkerville.
The rest of the South Nation watershed remains at level II drought conditions with stream flows for creeks and other water courses at 50 per cent of their normal summer flows. Golam noted that if a significant amount of rainfall does occur before the start of fall, then other sub-watersheds could be downgraded to level III status.
Low water levels impact fish habitats, may affect some crop yields, and interfere with the present and future health of newlyplanted tree seedlings. SNC continues to urge residents throughout the watershed to accept voluntary limitations on their water use, to avoid drawing too much water, both surface and underground, from the South Nation watershed sources. Municipalities may impose mandatory water restrictions if they deem it necessary. Residents are advised to call their local municipal office for information on any water use restrictions.
Environment Canada weather forecasts for the region do not predict any “significant amounts” of rainfall during the last days of summer and indicate that from September to October, the Eastern Ontario region may experience above-normal temperatures along with just the normal amount of rainfall for the period. For now, residents are urged to avoid any unnecessary use of water and try to cut their water use in half. That includes unnecessary washing of cars or trucks or hosing down outside windows of home and businesses. Limit watering lawns and gardens to either the early morning or the late evening periods, when the ground is able to absorb almost all the water, and then limit watering to an hour at most. Do not run sprinklers during the middle of the day, especially on sunny days, as much of the water will evaporate first before it can be absorbed.