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Water levels improve – but some wells may not recover until spring

water-level-2The water situation in the Quinte Conservation watersheds has improved to raise the Level 3 Low Water Condition to a Level 2, but water supply is still below normal, and some people’s wells may not recover until spring.

Quinte Conservation’s general manager Terry Murphy says the sporadic fall rains and recent snowfall have helped.

“Streamflows have improved recently as have groundwater levels. However, this does not mean that our water supply situation is good. Conditions are still not back to normal for this time of year.”

The local environmental organization declared the Level 3 Low Water Condition for its area of jurisdiction on Aug. 4 and it has remained that way until Dec. 15 when conditions improved enough to report the watersheds are in a Level 2 Low Water Condition.

“The low water conditions we are still experiencing are unprecedented for this time of year. During our last low water situation in 2012, conditions had returned to normal by mid-October. There are some residents who still have wells that have not recovered. There is a concern for wells that remain dry as we move into the winter months, as they may not recover until the spring.”

A Level 2 Low Water Condition indicates a potentially serious water supply problem often indicating minor water supply issues are encountered and there is the potential for major supply problems. A Level 2 condition is managed through Conservation Authorities, municipalities and other key provincial agencies. 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.

Quinte Conservation is continuing to ask residents and businesses to use water wisely 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 apply water conservation measures. Information on water conservation can be found on the Quinte Conservation website at

The change also means the County’s  outdoor, non-essential water use restrictions implemented in August, 2016 are no longer in effect.

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.


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  1. Gary says:

    Delusional is a bit much but it may be appropriate if one assumes that God mystically placed a multitude of water on one persons property that is totally disconnected from the rest of the groundwater system. Groundwater is important to serve vast areas. Thus the importance of it’s conservation for everyone.

  2. Marnie says:

    Just what are you advocating Gary? You have stated that our well water belongs to everyone. We are apparently delusional if we think it is ours.

  3. Gary says:

    Here we go again. I have never advocated for rural well users paying a fee to the County for the water they use.

  4. Chris Keen says:

    Gary – There is a “Gary” on here (ah, anonymity!) who constantly advocates for rural well users paying a fee to the County for the water they use. I was pointing out to him(?) that paying for the non-commercial use of water is an entirely different thing, and his example should not be passed off as an instance where well users pay for domestic water use.

    Anyone who thinks rural folks on wells waste water is wrong. If our wells run out…we’re done. In town, the tap will always run!

  5. Marnie says:

    I get that Chuck, but “everyone” did not pay for my system and is not responsible for maintaining it. I paid to access water and sewerage. I pay for repairs and pay to have my septic tank pumped. Is “everyone” going to take over these expenses if I am charged a user fee for groundwater?

  6. Chuck says:

    I think he is trying to educate that what you think is your very own water supply under your property is actually connected to everyone. That is what is pushing attention to water use.

  7. Marnie says:

    Gary, when do we start paying for our share of the air we breathe? You’re trying to hijack our wells to lower your water bills.

  8. Gary says:

    Chris; I don”t believe that anywhere I said I wanted see that implemented in the County. I said that it was receiving attention. Anyone who understands the value of fresh water and who can see that it will soon be in shorter supply and more wanted should not be surprised by that. That is not disingenuous. The view that you drill a well and have an never ending supply of fresh water soley on your land and that use of groundwater does not affect the broader public is a view that requires re thinking.

  9. Gary Mooney says:

    Gary, thanks to the link to Cowichan Valley, BC. The reference to charges for groundwater specifically excludes domestic (residential) use. But there will be a charge in Cowichan for farm use, based on consumption. Of course, that would be extremely unpopular here.

  10. Chris Keen says:

    Gary – don’t be disingenuous. This article ( concerns charges for the non-domestic use of water which is not what you are continually saying you want to see be implemented in the County.

  11. Gary says:

    Gary M, I said it was drawing attention. Water is such a crucial resource it does not surprise me as provinces rework their water sustainability Acts.

  12. ADJ says:

    To Mark: Your quote “until the “County undertakes the water and wastewater crisis collectively it will hurt every part of the County. It drives expansion and growth that helps all. Tough message to sell rural folk”…
    Well this “rural folk” is not necessarily in favour of expansion and growth. The more “growth” does not mean more wealth or stability for the County. AS a taxpayer here for 40+ years we have already seen this. More new houses built does not lessen the tax increases. Quite the opposite. Do you know how MPAC works? The costs of “expansion” means more roads and upkeep,more utilities,etc. which adds more staffing, equipment etc.
    Your looking at it as ammalgation and we know how that worked out. It appears there is no perfect answer for all but putting all the eggs in one basket has proven to be the wrong solution.

  13. Gary Mooney says:

    Gary, can you provide links or search strings that refer to charges for use of groundwater for residential wells in Canada?

  14. ADJ says:

    Too bad your so closed minded about this option Susan. I take it you have investigated and recieved a quote for this. Even seasonally it’s still a good alternative.Temporarily you could become a user of the bulk water system and lessen your costs. But there’s no point trying to convince you….I just thought it was a suggestion that someone might be able to work into their system. Intead of being a negative old nellie come up with some positive ideas that indicate your striving to better your situation. Oh,,Merry Christmas!

  15. Marnie says:

    Oh but the well users paid to access the groundwater. It did not come free of charge. They pay to maintain their systems too. It is not a free ride. Their water is not chlorinated and it can be very hard. Sometimes they have to pay for salt and water softening units plus filtering devices.

  16. Gary says:

    Another action that it is receiving more attention both Provincialy and by Municipalities is enacting a fee on well owners who are accessing everyone’s groundwater.

  17. Susan says:

    Lol. And under that scenario costs and debt would even worsen with dramatic drop in consumption. That’s not even reasonable. Hook up an alternate water supply and pay more!

  18. ADJ says:

    Old Timer…you know what your talking about! I have mentioned this “technology” several times on here but it’s been totally ignored. Just too easy to grumble and blame. People have forgotten how to be inovative, they are too used to being coddled and then when hit with high costs they hit the roof. Are water/sewage costs too high? Certainly,,and don’t look for it to get any cheaper,, why would it? There are outstanding costs to be paid (ie poop plant and eventually a new water intake system)
    Apartment/Condo dwellers are at a disadvantage in that yes water storage is probably impossible but a house owner can and should look into a self sustaining fresh water system.Designed to fit the house, evetroughs could be connected to gather rain water.Fit in a tank or cistern that will meet your needs and more. An outside tank would need a small heater or bubble system to keep the poly tank from freezing. Get a quote from a installer if not able to do it yourself. “Think outside the box” as they say.

  19. Marnie says:

    Rural folks are not that easy to dupe, Mark. We paid for and continue to maintain our septic systems and our wells and now you think we should pay your water bills too. If you believe that cheap water will bring a big growth spurt to the county think again. Historically, we have not experienced this kind of growth and we never will. Tourism is the big industry now. It’s a feeble argument aimed at making the idea of charging rural people for water more palatable. If industry did not find us when water was cheap it is not going to beat a path to our door now.

  20. Mark says:

    Until the “County” undertakes the water & wastewater crisis collectively it will hurt every part of the County. It drives expansion and growth that help all. Tough message to sell to rural folks but in the long term they would be better off as well. It takes leadership and old outdated Township reps to properly represent the County. I am certain that the upcoming OMB will deliver a Council representation that will have to think County.

  21. old timer says:

    In an older house you could “re-use” the cistern. In a newer home you could use a poly storage tank under the deck perhaps or in the basement. But you would need a pump and pressure tank , and a valve to switch between the two systems. It’s a long term solution that might pay for itself in savings ! Now you can buy and haul or have your bulk water delivered to your urban location at lower rates ! Not impossible.

  22. Susan says:

    Impossible scenario for urban to purchase bulk! Where would they store it ? Lol!

  23. Sam says:

    The bulk water rates were reduced for everybody. Townies could have bought bulk water the same as the country people did. If buying in bulk is less expensive than buying from the faucet then go ahead.

  24. Susan says:

    Those bulk water rates should never have been reduced on the backs of urban particularly with the insensitivity to the water & wastewater crisis.

  25. Gary says:

    Now that the low water level has moved from level 3 down to 2 does that mean bulk water rates will return to their prior rate before the reduction subsidized by urban users?

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