Based on precipitation figures for the last three months and current stream levels, Conservation Halton is moving from a Level II Low Water Condition to a Level I Low Water Condition. While August brought a return of normal to above normal precipitation, it was not enough to counteract the dry conditions from April through July and remove the low water condition.
A Level I condition triggers a call for a voluntary cutback of 10 per cent by users taking water from wells or surface water sources.
The three-month average for precipitation in the watershed from August to October was approximately 203mm or 88 per cent of normal for this time of year. The historical average for rainfall from August to October is 232mm. Further, the current data suggests that a number of our streams have recovered with the precipitation the watershed has received and are at a Level I Low Water Condition threshold.
Staff will continue to monitor watershed conditions closely and re-evaluate the appropriate Condition Level for our watershed. The Environment Canada seasonal forecast (November, December and January) remains as above normal temperatures, but is uncertain about precipitation for the Great Lakes region.
Conservation Halton had declared a Level I Low Water Condition on July 11 and moved to a Level II Low Water Condition on August 10. The last time Conservation Halton had declared a Level II Low Water Condition for its watershed was August 20, 2007.
Under the Level I Low Water Condition, water users in the Conservation Halton watershed are asked to voluntarily conserve water with the aim of reducing overall consumption by 10 percent. The Low Water Condition is based on criteria set by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF). Water users which rely on municipal sources are reminded to follow any water conservation measures as prescribed by Halton Region or their local municipality.
The Conservation Halton watershed is comprised of the Bronte, Grindstone, and Sixteen Mile Creek watersheds that encompass portions of Puslinch, Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton, Mississauga, Burlington and Oakville, as well as a number of smaller urban creek watersheds located in Burlington and Oakville.
Major water users, such as golf courses, aggregate extractors, farm irrigators and others are asked to implement or continue their water conservation programs to reach the 10 percent target. Rural water users can lower the demand on the watercourses and aquifers by pumping water at a lower rate, storing it in ponds or by staggering their pumping times in conjunction with neighbours to lower peak demand.
More about Low Water Status
Conservation Halton, in partnership with the MNRF, monitors local water level and precipitation amounts. In the event of water shortages or a drought, Conservation Halton works closely with local water users and other government agencies to coordinate water conservation efforts and try to reduce demand.
Under the Province’s Ontario Low Water Response strategy, local water users and managers establish Water Response Teams (WRT) in areas experiencing low water conditions so the local community can carry out actions to reduce and better manage water use. The Low Water Response Team, coordinated by Conservation Halton in its watershed, consists of representatives from the Province, Municipalities, Conservation Authorities, local water users and industry groups. There are four levels of Low Water Conditions:
- Normal – Normal Conditions are within normal limits.
- Level I – First indication of potential water supply problems, primarily a warning level – key focus is on voluntary conservation of water
- Level II – Indicates a potentially serious problem – conservation of water is extended to restrictions on non-essential uses
- Level III – Indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand – key focus is on conservation, regulation and enforcement of non-essential uses
More information is available on Conservation Halton’s website, www.conservationhalton.ca/low-water-status.