Natural hazards, like flooding and erosion from extreme rainfall or snowmelt, can be dangerous for people and cause damage to properties, infrastructure and nature. Conservation Halton provides a flood forecasting, management and operations program to reduce the risk of these natural hazards from having an impact on our community through prevention, prediction, protection and preparedness.
Conservation Halton is constantly monitoring weather and watershed conditions, in collaboration with other conservation authorities, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and Environment Canada. (Click here for real-time environmental monitoring of air temperature, water temperatures and precipitation amounts in the Conservation Halton watershed.) When flooding is forecasted, Conservation Halton issues flood messages to municipal emergency management, emergency medical response, school boards, police and media.
If a flood message is issued in your area, it is important to follow instructions of emergency response authorities. We would also recommend that you consider, in advance, what you can do to be prepared for flood emergencies. Halton Region has compiled information on what you can do before, during, and after a flood to protect yourself and your family, and Environment Canada also has information on what you can do before, during, and after a flood.
Flooding and erosion are two of the natural hazards of key concern in the Conservation Halton watershed. Flooding is what happens when the water levels of a creek, stream, river or lake cover the adjacent area of land, known as the floodplain. Erosion is a natural process that occurs during floods, or even when water levels rise but do not overflow, but an increased amount of erosion can weaken the stability of stream banks and other slopes.
These natural hazards can cause property damage, personal injury and loss of life, as well as impact the plants, animals and water quality in the area. As our communities continue to grow and expand, and as climate change continues to increase the frequency and severity of storm events, flood control in the Conservation Halton watershed is more important than ever.
Kelso Dam was the first flood control dam constructed within the jurisdiction and was built in 1962. It operates in conjunction with the Hilton Falls Dam and Reservoir. It is operated to provide flood protection to downstream areas within the Town of Milton during spring melt, as well as rainfall and snowmelt events. Kelso Dam provides low flow augmentation in summer months to support aquatic habitat in the downstream Sixteen Mile Creek. It also allows visitors to Kelso to enjoy recreational opportunities like swimming and non-motorized boating.
The Hilton Falls Dam and Reservoir was constructed in 1974. It operates in conjunction with the Kelso Reservoir to provide flood protection to downstream areas within the Town of Milton during spring melt, as well as rainfall and snowmelt events.. Hilton Falls is also used to augment flows into the Kelso reservoir during drier summer months by storing upstream runoff during the spring and releasing it at a pre-determined rate. The level of flood protection during winter months is quite high because when holding levels are lower, but the level of flood protection is reduced during summer, due to higher reservoir levels, which reduce available active flood storage.
The Mountsberg Dam and Reservoir was constructed in 1967. It is operated to provide flood protection to downstream areas within Lawson Trailer Park and the Town of Carlisle during spring melt, as well as rainfall and snowmelt events. Mountsberg is also used to augment low flows in downstream Mountsberg Creek and the Bronte Creek system during drier summer months by storing upstream runoff during the spring and releasing at a pre-determined rate. The reservoir also provides recreational opportunities, like fishing and non-motorized boating.
Scotch Block Dam
The Scotch Block Dam and Reservoir was constructed in 1972. It is operated to provide flood protection to downstream areas within the villages of Mansewood and Hornby during spring melt, as well as rainfall and snowmelt events. Scotch Block is also used to augment flows in Middle Sixteen Mile Creek during drier summer months by storing upstream runoff during the spring and releasing at a pre-determined rate. The level of flood protection during winter months is quite high because when holding levels are lower, but the level of flood protection is reduced during summer, due to higher reservoir levels, which reduce available active flood storage.
Hurricane Hazel in 1954, and the catastrophic flooding that it caused, was the driving force for the creation of conservation authorities in Ontario. Within the province, 81 people lost their lives and 4,000 families were displaced from their homes. Following the destruction and devastation of Hurricane Hazel, regulations and policies to prevent home construction and other development in ravines and floodplains were implemented to protect us from similar tragedy.