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Water Safety Statement warns of high flows, unsafe banks

flood statusForecast rain and warming temperatures will encourage the rest of the snowpack to begin melting and Quinte Conservation has released a “Water Safety Statement” in effect until Tuesday, April 7.

A ‘Water Safety Statement’ indicates  high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for anglers, boaters, swimmers, children or pets. Flooding is not expected.

“Flows in area rivers will begin to increase more sharply as a result of the melting snow,” said Bryon Keene, Quinte Conservation WAter Resources Manager. “The ice cover has weakened on the rivers and in many places waterways are open.  The very slow melt is reducing ice jamming concerns and any that have occurred have not resulted in any flooding.”

Keene said flows in area rivers are only one-third to half of normal, with the exception of Prince Edward County where the largest creeks, Consecon Creek and Black Creek, are at normal conditions and declining.

“The southern portions of the watershed have little snow remaining and will not contribute dramatically to the flows in smaller creeks,” he said. “The Moira, Salmon and Napanee Rivers will see increased flows over the next two weeks, but not conditions like we saw last year.”

Springtime flooding, he said, is usually caused by rains during the melt.

“This year we have received only slightly above half the normal amount of precipitation throughout the winter.  We have received only one-third the normal precipitation in March and there is little forecast for early April. Staff are watching conditions to ensure that it can fill reservoirs that supply water to the Moira and Napanee rivers in the summer.”

Two reservoirs supply some summer flow augmentation in the Moira river system – Lingham and Deerock Lake Dams, and there are two reservoirs in the Napanee – 2nd and 3rd Depot Lake dams.  Keene said staff are performing dam operations on these reservoirs to fill them during the spring runoff but must also balance the risks of overfilling should the spring rains arrive.

Quinte Conservation urges all parents and caregivers to ensure children do not play along local waterways as stream banks may be slippery and water flows and currents may be strong.

Dams and other water control structures should be avoided at all times.

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