January 13, 2017 – The freeze thaw cycle that has characterized much of early winter across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, bringing both rain and snow to the region, has helped to improve lake levels and water flows.
On Thursday, January 12, the Kawartha Water Response Team reduced the Level II low water condition declaration for the majority of the watershed to a Level I low water condition.
In the Township of Scugog, where drought conditions during much of 2016 resulted in the most severe Level III low water declaration, mixed precipitation during December and the early parts of January have improved water levels and water flows significantly, resulting in the move to a Level I low water condition.
“Recorded three month precipitation from October to December ranged from 66 percent in the north to 86 percent at Ken Reid Conservation Area,” explained Kawartha Conservation Hydrologist Iryna Shulyarenko. “However, actual December precipitation ranged from 110 percent of average December values in the north to 149 percent of December averages at Ken Reid Conservation Area.
“Our flow indicators for December also show that all of the watershed’s monitoring locations reported flows that are significantly higher than the long-term minimum monthly summer flow,” added Ms. Shulyarenko.
In December, the Pigeon River monitoring station showed flows at 113 percent of the Minimum monthly summer flow, while the Blackstock Creek monitoring station reported flows at 335 percent and Nonquon River, near Port Perry showed flows at 550 percent of the minimum monthly summer flow.
While the increased precipitation is good news for residents and businesses across the Kawartha Conservation watershed, ground water supplies are not likely to be significantly impacted until spring when air temperature returns to the stable above freezing mark.
“Those individuals with very, very shallow wells may notice some improvement, but we are not anticipating much improvement in the ground water supply until spring as the infiltration from melting snow becomes steady,” said Ms. Shulyarenko. “We are continuing to ask residents and businesses to voluntarily reduce their water consumption. Water is a shared resource and every little bit of water conservation will help make a difference for you and your neighbour.”
In response to the impact of the low water conditions on ground water supplies during 2016, Kawartha Conservation, in conjunction with the City of Kawartha Lakes, Farm & Food Care and the Ontario Ministry Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs are hosting a one-day Agricultural drought resilience workshop in Fenelon Falls on Tuesday, January 31.
“We’ve heard from members of our agricultural community about the challenges they have experienced over the last year,” said Ms. Shipclark. “This aim of this workshop is to provide valuable information from a variety of sources to area farmers and landowners. We have put together an agenda that will help address a lot of the questions and provide important and useful information for our agricultural community.”
The cost for the event is $20 and includes lunch. Interested persons must register Online in advance at www.KawarthaConservation.com/agwater or by contacting Kelly Maloney at the City of Kawartha Lakes, 705-324-9411 Ext. 1208.