ORCA Advises that Level 2 Drought Persists Despite Recent Rainfall

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Recent rainfalls have been insufficient to replenish local streams where vegetation has replaced moving water.

Recent rainfalls have been insufficient to replenish local streams where vegetation has replaced moving water.

The Otonabee Region Water Response Team advises members of the watershed community that the Level 2 drought first declared on July 12, 2016 remains in effect. This means that water users of both municipal and private water supplies are strongly encouraged to reduce their water use by 20% in their daily routines and activities.

The Otonabee Region watershed has experienced a hot, dry summer, during which there were 11 days in the month of August when daytime temperatures were higher than 30oC. The mean monthly temperature for August in our region was about 3.6oC above normal.

The dry conditions over the past few months mean that the ground is hard and rain cannot seep into it as it normally would. “Short bursts of intense rainfall have led to runoff into streams and creeks, but this kind of rainfall does nothing to improve water flows or alleviate dry conditions on the landscape,” says Gordon Earle, Water Resources Technologist for Otonabee Conservation. “Multiple, prolonged, slow and steady rainfall events are needed to replenish wetlands, streams and lakes as well as recharge groundwater supplies,” adds Earle.

“Water is a shared resource,” emphasizes Earle. “Excessive water use could draw down groundwater aquifers which would have a negative impact on neighboring and nearby wells. So it’s up to all of us to use water wisely, and continue to make water conservation a regular part of our daily lives.”

The members of the Otonabee Region Water Response Team are reminding local residents that non-essential water uses should be suspended until further notice. Many municipalities have invoked water use restrictions and bylaws. Residents can learn what bylaws are in effect in their municipality regarding water use, as well as outdoor fire bans by visiting municipal websites.

The Otonabee Region watershed encompasses the drainage areas of the Otonabee, Indian and Ouse Rivers within the municipalities of Asphodel-Norwood, Cavan Monaghan, Douro-Dummer, Otonabee South Monaghan, Selwyn and the City of Peterborough, as well as portions of the City of Kawartha Lakes and Trent Hills. The Otonabee Region Water Response Team is made up of representatives from local municipalities, water management agencies, tourism, cottage and agriculture sectors, provincial and federal agencies, First Nations and Otonabee Conservation.

Otonabee Conservation continues to monitor watershed conditions closely and their Water Response Team will meet again in mid-October to re-evaluate watershed conditions.

For further information contact: Gordon Earle, Water Resource Technologist, Otonabee Conservation at Tel: 705-745-5791, ext. 214. KG

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