LOW WATER RESPONSE PROGRAM

Picture of an river

Low rainfall and hot temperatures in the summer can result in low stream flows and low groundwater levels. This can have an impact on the amount of water available for human, business and recreational use, as well as, the amount of water available to ensure a healthy aquatic habitat.

When this happens, a Low Water Response plan can be put into effect to provide guidance to major water users on ways they can reduce their water consumption. The Ontario government developed a Low Water Response Plan in 2000 to assist in coordination and to support local response in the event of a drought.

In the Long Point Region watershed, the Long Point Region Conservation Authority has organized Low Water Response Team Zones for the Big Otter Creek, Big Creek and Eastern Basin watersheds.  The teams include representatives from municipalities, agriculture, golf courses, several provincial ministries and the LPRCA.

The Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry monitor precipitation, stream flow, groundwater levels and other factors in order to recognize and measure the severity of a low water condition.

Click on the stream flow graphs below to get the latest news on Long Point Region watershed water levels. Note: These graphs are based on preliminary data and are updated variably depending on the season and water conditions.

Big Otter Creek above Otterville           Big Creek near Kelvin

Big Otter Creek at Tillsonburg             Big Creek near Walsingham

Big Otter Creek near Calton                Lynn River at Simcoe 

Nanticoke Creek at Nanticoke

The Water Response Teams (WRTs) meet as required during the year to review stream flow information and weather forecasts. Based on the information available, the WRT can decide to declare Level 1 and 2 or recommend a Level 3 low water condition for part of, or the entire watershed.

In Levels 1 and 2, water users are typically asked to cut consumption by 10 and 20 per cent respectively.  In Level 3, regulatory measures may be imposed in addition to further water conservation requests and watering restrictions.

In addition to the provincial Low Water Response Plan, several municipalities in the Long Point Region watershed have passed their own water-use bylaws which include restrictions on lawn watering, car washing and other outdoor water use.  For more information on these water conservation measures go to the Useful Resources section.