Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

includes a call for an additional 10% (total of 20%) voluntary reduction in water useLevel 2 Low Water Advisory

Water Response Team issues Level 1 Low Water Advisory for Bayfield River watershed

August 10, 2018

Water Response Team issues Level 2 Low Water Advisory for Bayfield River watershed

Streamflow in the Bayfield River watershed continued to decline as a result of prolonged dry weather, prompting the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Water Response Team (WRT) to move from a Level 1 Low Water Advisory, into a Level 2 Low Water Advisory for the Bayfield River watershed.

Rainfall distribution through the month of July varied widely across the ABCA watershed. While some areas received near normal rainfall amounts for the month of July, other areas received very little, as low as 25 millimetres (mm).  Much of this had to do with how the rainfall patterns moved through the watershed, generally from south to north.

With some local exceptions, it was the Bayfield River watershed that once again missed most of the rain. This area has been the hardest hit by drought conditions in 2018.

Streamflow continues to decline across the remainder ABCA watershed but, based on the Low Water indicator thresholds for July, the Ausable River remains slightly outside of a low water condition. Real-time flows in the Ausable River watershed are indicative of a low water condition and will be monitored closely as we move through August, with the potential to issue additional advisories.

“Most of the rainfall in August was used up at the ground surface, with very little contribution to stream flow. To reverse the trend of declining streamflow, it will take a much wetter than normal August if we are to see sustained improvement in streamflow conditions,” according to Davin Heinbuck, Water Resources Coordinator at ABCA. 

Water Response Team Chair Doug Cook said everyone has a role to play in water conservation. He encourages all water users to look for ways they can conserve water and prevent further reduction in water levels and availability through the summer. “For areas where a Level 2 Low Water Advisory is in place, we are encouraging water users to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20 per cent,” he said. “For water users that do not fall within areas currently under a low water advisory, water conservation should still be a priority in order that the water resource is available to meet both short and long-term social, economic and environmental needs.”

For ideas on ways you can reduce water use, please visit the water quantity and water conservation page at abca.ca at this link: https://www.abca.ca/page.php?page=water-quantity

The Water Response Team was formed in 2001 in response to the low water and drought conditions that year and the team has been active ever since. The WRT includes representatives of major water users (such as aggregate industries; agriculture and vegetable growers; and golf and recreation) and includes local municipal representatives and staff of provincial ministries (such as Natural Resources and Forestry; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and Environment, Conservation and Parks). ABCA staff will continue to monitor rainfall and streamflow data and keep the public informed of any changes in watershed conditions. The Water Response Team relies on both precipitation and streamflow indicators to support any decision to move into a Low Water Advisory. Indicators include one-month streamflow, and one month or three month precipitation.  

A Level 1 Low Water Advisory includes a request for a 10 per cent voluntary reduction in water use. A Level 2 Low Water Advisory includes a call for an additional 10 per cent (total of 20 per cent) voluntary reduction in water use. A Level 3 Low Water Advisory may involve mandatory water use restrictions.

Visit www.ontario.ca/lowwater for further resources on the Ontario low water response program or the website at abca.ca for the dynamic low-water advisory tool which alerts people to low-water advisories in effect in the watershed.

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