While recent rainstorms have been a welcome sight, they have not been enough to officially change the drought status or lift the fire ban in South Dundas.
On July 24, Sandra Mancini of South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC) confirmed that the Level 2 Low Water Condition remains in place.
“The recent rainfall was very localized,” said Mancini. “Some areas got a lot of rain and some had nothing at all.”
“It had little impact on the watershed. The river flows at well below average for this time of year.”
She reported that while Ottawa received 13 millimeters of rain on July 23, Cornwall received 17.4 millimeters and Brockville none.
Mancini further explained that it would take one full week of very steady rain of long duration and low density to make any positive impact on the current drought situation.
She pointed out that, unfortunately, the July 23 storm was very high in density and low in duration.
The Ontario Low Water Response program, implemented in 2000, has three levels and according to Mancini, “we are really close to a Level 3 right now.”
“As of today, some of the conditions have not been met” for a Level 3 Low Water Condition, but, she added, it’s very close.
While only the province can officially declare a Level 3 drought, South Nation Conservation’s water response team will meet on August 2nd to review the situation. If conditions, at that time, have reached a Level 3, SNC will recommend to the province that the designation be updated.
In determining the water condition, the water response team monitors water levels within the watershed and tracks any reported water-related issues.
The team at South Nation Conservation ask that anyone experiencing water-related issues contact them at 1-877-984-2948 extension 223 or extension 227.
At this point, no dry wells in South Dundas have been reported, but Mancini pointed out, during the 2001 Level 2 Low Water Condition there were several reports of dry wells in South Dundas.
Contacting the SNC will not only give the water response team the data to support their findings, but it will also give area residents the opportunity to ask questions and find out what to do in a dry well situation.
In fact, those residents whose wells are low, but not yet dry, should also contact SNC for information. Low water levels in wells could affect the quality and safety of the water.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) provides free water-testing for wells. More information on this can be found by contacting SNC or by contacting EOHU directly.
South Nation Conservation continues to promote conservation. People are asked to use 20 percent less water than they would normally. Should the drought be upgraded to a Level 3, the province will determine if any restrictions are to be put in place in terms of water usage.
In related news, the fire ban in South Dundas remains in place.
South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services chief Chris McDonough was contacted on July 24, following the previous day’s rainstorm.
“We need another full day of rain before I’ll even think about lifting it,” he said.