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Watersheds still at Level 3 despite Saturday’s storm

While some areas in the Quinte Conservation watershed received a good amount of rain over the weekend it hasn’t been enough to lift the area out of a Level 3 Low Water Condition.

“Over the weekend the Picton area received 35 millimetres of rain – the most in the watershed,” said Christine McClure, Water Resources Manager. “Most areas received less than 25 millimetres of rain. We need significant sustained rainfall over several days all across the watershed in order to replenish our rivers and streams.”

Quinte Conservation confirms low water conditions using two criteria – precipitation and stream flow. In order to move out of the Level 3 Low Water Condition the Quinte Conservation watersheds need to receive significant, more slow, steady rain to make up for the deficit experienced to see the flows increase in rivers and streams.

“We are getting a lot of questions recently about how much rain we need to bring the area out of this severe low water condition,” said McClure. “The situation is not as clear cut as being able to say a particular amount of rain will help. Our water levels and flows are so low now that it is important for the area to receive a steady amount of rain over a number days. The recent rainfall caused a small increase in stream and river flows, but those are already declining. Individual rainfall events are not having a significant impact on the situation.”

McClure added Quinte Conservation is receiving new reports from people about their wells going dry.

“Under normal conditions our groundwater levels would decline through to October. This year it will be worse. People on private wells will need to be careful with their water use and monitor their wells in case they should go dry.”

Quinte Conservation is continuing to ask residents and businesses to reduce their water use by 50 per cent until the water supply has been replenished.
Information on water conservation can be found on the Quinte Conservation website at

A Level 3 Low Water Condition was declared by Quinte Conservation and the Low Water Response Team due to lack of rainfall and low flows in local rivers and streams on August 4. The Quinte Conservation watersheds have been experiencing low water conditions since the beginning of June.

Individuals or businesses in the Quinte watersheds who experience problems or hardships, such as wells going dry, are invited to contact Quinte Conservation by calling 613-968-3434 or 613-354-3312 and dialing extension 129. Reports can also be emailed to These reports will help the organization track the impacts of the Low Water Condition.

Well owners should take steps to protect their well pump. A licensed contractor can be hired to check water levels, make sure the pump is working and ensure the pump is protected in case the well should run dry.

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.

Filed Under: Local News

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