Kawartha Conservation issues flood outlook

Environment Canada is forecasting a very complex weather pattern over the next two days. A series of low
pressure systems is expected to move through southern Ontario, including the Kawartha Conservation
watershed, bringing a significant amount of rain, freezing rain, ice pellets and snow. It is predicted that the
total amount of precipitation over the next 5 days may reach 80 mm.


At this time, rivers and streams within the Kawartha Conservation watershed jurisdiction are flowing at low
levels. However, the ground is already saturated as a result of yesterday’s rain, and could be partially frozen at
the northern portion of the watershed (north of Fenelon Falls). Therefore, the forecast precipitation,
especially if a majority comes as rain, is expected to produce significant runoff. As a result, water levels and
velocities in local watercourses will increase. Water accumulation may occur in low-lying areas, road ditches,
and areas with poor drainage. Rivers and streams may reach or exceed in some locations, their bankfull
conditions. Smaller steams will react fast, while it takes longer for larger watercourses to respond.


The Trent-Severn Waterway officials are monitoring this situation very closely. All dams on the large Kawartha
Lakes are open to increase the lakes’ storage capacity in preparation for the event. Snow is still present in the
northern reaches of the Gull and Burnt river watersheds (Haliburton region). According to TSW observations, an
equivalent of 20 to 60 mm of water is still present in the remaining snow pack.


Under expected watershed conditions, all local rivers, streams, and lakes should be considered extremely
dangerous. Riverbanks will be slippery and unsafe; any remaining ice cover is unstable and hazardous.
Kawartha Conservation is warning all residents to stay away from water bodies, as well as water structures
such as bridges, culverts, and dams. Children should be warned of dangerous conditions and caregivers should
maintain a close watch on children who are outside.


Municipalities are advised to monitor areas known for minor flooding and be prepared to respond to high
water situations as they occur. Residents are advised to contact their municipalities should a flood threat
develop. Local municipalities are first to respond to and assist with flood emergencies.


Kawartha Conservation will continue monitoring local watercourses and notify the public and municipalities
within its watershed jurisdiction of any changes. We are in close communication with partner agencies such as
the Trent Severn Waterway, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and neighbouring Conservation
Authorities on this upcoming situation.


Burnt and Gull River levels are monitored by staff from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
(MNRF). Residents along these two rivers are requested to direct any questions concerning water levels to the
MNRF Minden office at 705-286-5207.


If you are aware of or have concerns about flooding, please contact Kawartha Conservation at 705.328.2271 or
705.344.0155 after hours.