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Water team removes low water advisory

A photo of two different locations and times in October in watershed.


Water Response Team removes Level 1 Low Water Advisory for ABCA watershed area 

Streamflows trending towards seasonal levels as wet weather returns

The Water Response Team (WRT) has removed the Level 1 Low Water Advisory for the entire Ausable Bayfield watershed.

Watershed conditions have seen a slow but steady improvement in response to wet weather through the first part of the autumn season. Several months of normal rainfall totals have resulted in more frequent runoff, and steady baseflow through October, something that had not been seen since early June. Dry weather through the summer produced almost no runoff and a significant reduction in baseflow, which saw many of the smaller watercourses around the watershed dry up.  

Davin Heinbuck is Water Resources Coordinator at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA). He said long-range forecasts show that a normal weather pattern is likely to persist through the last half of the fall season.

“With improved conditions, seasonal weather, and a lower demand for water, we are optimistic that watershed conditions will continue their recovery,” he said. Even though streamflow is slightly below normal, streamflow measurements are trending in the right direction, according to Heinbuck. “This is supported by what we are seeing in ground conditions and in our shallow aquifers.”

The Chair of the Water Response Team, Doug Cook, thanked both industries and individuals who voluntarily reduced their water usage in response to the dry weather observed through the summer.

“During dry periods, conservation of water is an important measure to prevent further declines in water supplies and actions taken earlier this summer will have helped to prevent any further Low Water Advisories,” Cook said. 

The Water Response Team was formed in 2001 in response to the low water and drought conditions that year and the team has been active ever since. The WRT includes representatives of major water users (such as aggregate industries; agriculture and vegetable growers; and golf and recreation) and includes local municipal representatives and staff of provincial ministries (such as Natural Resources and Forestry; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and Environment, Conservation and Parks).

ABCA staff will continue to monitor precipitation and streamflow data and keep the public informed of any changes in watershed conditions through the winter months. 

Visit the Ontario Surface Water Monitoring Centre for further resources on the Ontario low water response program or the website at for the dynamic low-water advisory tool which alerts people to low-water advisories in effect in the watershed.

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