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August 17, 2016 - QUINTE CONSERVATION WATERSHEDS STILL IN LEVEL 3 LOW WATER CONDITION

Level 3 Low Water Condition

While some areas in the Quinte Conservation watershed received a significant amount of rain over the last five days it hasn’t been enough to lift the area out of a Level 3 Low Water Condition. Water Resources Manager Christine McClure says, “Over the last five days Belleville received the most rainfall in the watershed with approximately 70 millimetres, or 3 inches, of rain. Northern areas received much less rain – only about 25 millimetres, or 1 inch. The upper Napanee watershed and some areas in Prince Edward County received about 50 millimetres, or 2 inches, of rain. We need significant sustained rainfall over several days in the northern parts of the watershed in order to replenish our rivers and streams.”

Quinte Conservation confirms low water conditions using two criteria – precipitation and stream flow. In order to move out of the Level 3 Low Water Condition the Quinte Conservation watersheds need to receive a great deal more slow, steady rain to make up for the deficit experienced earlier in the year. Significant rainfall is required to see the flows increase in rivers and streams.

McClure explains, “Our rivers and streams did see an increase in levels and flows because of the rain. Most have already peaked and are back in decline. We expect to see the Moira River flows south of Tweed decrease over the next few days.”

McClure adds, “Groundwater levels were helped somewhat by the recent rain but are still quite low for the season. People on private wells will need to be careful with their water use and monitor their wells in case they should go dry.”

Quinte Conservation is continuing to ask residents and businesses to reduce their water use by 50% until the water supply has been replenished. The local environmental agency will monitor precipitation and stream flows and provide updates. Quinte Conservation encourages everyone to use water wisely and apply water conservation measures.

Quinte Conservation will be meeting with the Low Water Response Team in the first week of September to go over current conditions. A Level 3 Low Water Condition was declared by Quinte Conservation and the Low Water Response Team due to lack of rainfall and low flows in local rivers and streams on August 4. The Quinte Conservation watersheds have been experiencing low water conditions since the beginning of June.

A Level 3 Low Water Condition indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand. Restrictions on water use may be imposed by municipalities or under the provincial Water Resources Act. Low water conditions are ranked as Level 1, 2 or 3 based on a prolonged period of low flows or precipitation. A Level 1 is the least severe and Level 3 is the most severe.

The environmental organization is encouraging any individuals or businesses in the Quinte watersheds who experience problems or hardships, such as wells going dry, to contact Quinte Conservation by calling 613-968-3434 or 613-354-3312 and dialing extension 129. Reports can also be emailed to info@quinteconservation.ca. These reports will help the organization track the impacts of the Low Water Condition.

Well owners should take steps to protect their well pump. A licensed contractor can be hired to check water levels, make sure the pump is working and ensure the pump is protected in case the well should run dry.

Quinte Conservation is the lead for the local Water Response Team (WRT) for all of Prince Edward County and the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers. The team includes representation from municipalities, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, First Nations, and local industry. The WRT is formed when the watershed is in a Level 1 condition. Water Response Teams monitor local conditions carefully and work with local water users to reduce demand and mitigate the effects of water shortages.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency. It serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County. It provides cost-effective environmental expertise and leadership. Quinte Conservation’s main goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem where people and nature live in harmony.

For more information:

Jennifer May-Anderson
Jennifer May-Anderson

Communications Manager
(613) 968-3434 ext. 125
(613) 354-3312 ext. 125

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