Low Water Status

Conservation Halton Watershed moves from Level II Low Water Condition to Level I

Based on precipitation figures for the last three months and current stream levels, Conservation Halton is moving from a Level II Low Water Condition to a Level I Low Water Condition. While August brought a return of normal to above normal precipitation, it was not enough to counteract the dry conditions from April through July and remove the low water condition.

A Level I condition triggers a call for a voluntary cutback of 10 per cent by users taking water from wells or surface water sources.

The three-month average for precipitation in the watershed from August to October was approximately 203mm or 88 per cent of normal for this time of year. The historical average for rainfall from August to October is 232mm. Further, the current data suggests that a number of our streams have recovered with the precipitation the watershed has received and are at a Level I Low Water Condition threshold.

Staff will continue to monitor watershed conditions closely and re-evaluate the appropriate Condition Level for our watershed. The Environment Canada seasonal forecast (November, December and January) remains as above normal temperatures, but is uncertain about precipitation for the Great Lakes region.

Conservation Halton had declared a Level I Low Water Condition on July 11 and moved to a Level II Low Water Condition on August 10. The last time Conservation Halton had declared a Level II Low Water Condition for its watershed was August 20, 2007.

Under the Level I Low Water Condition, water users in the Conservation Halton watershed are asked to voluntarily conserve water with the aim of reducing overall consumption by 10 percent. The Low Water Condition is based on criteria set by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF). Water users which rely on municipal sources are reminded to follow any water conservation measures as prescribed by Halton Region or their local municipality.

The Conservation Halton watershed is comprised of the Bronte, Grindstone, and Sixteen Mile Creek watersheds that encompass portions of Puslinch, Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton, Mississauga, Burlington and Oakville, as well as a number of smaller urban creek watersheds located in Burlington and Oakville.


Low Water Conditions

Conservation Halton, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, assists in the co-ordination and support of local response in the event of a drought. We monitor local water level and precipitation closely and work with local water users to reduce demand and mitigate effects of water shortages, encouraging voluntary water conservation measures. Consisting of representatives from the Province, Municipalities, Conservation Authorities, local water users and interest groups, a Water Response Team is coordinated by Conservation Halton in its watershed.

There are three levels of Low Water Conditions:

Normal Conditions are within normal limits.
Level I First indication of potential water supply problems, primarily a warning level - Key focus is on voluntary conservation of water
Level II Indicates a potentially serious problem - conservation of water is extended to restrictions on non-essential uses
Level III

Indicates a failure of the water supply to meet demand - Key focus is on conservation, regulation and enforcement of non-essential uses

The Plan identifies three categories of water usage that would be used in ranking water usage allocation under Level 3 low water conditions as follows:

  • Essential Uses consist of water uses which deal with human life and health; a reasonable supply of water for drinking and sanitation, health care and public institutions (wastewater treatment, fire protection, schools and power generation) as well as water required for basic ecological functions
  • Important Uses consist of uses important for social and economic well being and would include activities critical to industry, commercial operations and agriculture
  • Non Essential Uses consist of uses which can be interrupted for a short period without significant impact and would include private swimming pools, lawn watering, public and private fountains and vehicle washing

Click here MNR & F Low Water Response Guidelines

Click here for OMAFRA page - Working together to Manage Low Water