Lack of rain prompts low water warnings on waterways in Ottawa and eastern Ontario

As conservation authorities in the Ottawa area warn of low water levels on area waterways this spring, Environment Canada's forecast suggests the lack of rain will continue.

"It's almost forgotten how to rain in the Ottawa area," said David Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist.

Ottawa has received 16.7 mm of rain so far in June, after 13.5 mm of rain fell in May.

"In the last four weeks since May 12, you've had maybe 20 per cent of your precipitation you'd expect," said Phillips in an interview on CTV Morning Live.

"What's even worse than that, in that period you've had eight days where the temperature got above 30 C, so the demand from the atmosphere for that little bit of moisture that exists is overwhelming. Its bone dry and you need rain."

Phillips notes there is a 30 per cent change of rain in the forecast for Friday, and again on Sunday and Monday.

"I don't even carry an umbrella for 30 per cent," said Phillips.

"So it's not the kind of rain you need that slow, drenching, percolating kind of rain to kind of end this long spell of dry weather."

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority says watershed conditions now meet the threshold for minor low water status, and is urging residents and businesses to conservative water by limiting non-essential use.

The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority issued a Level 1 Minor Drought warning on Wednesday for the Mississippi and Carp River watersheds.

"As the dry weather continues in the Mississippi and Carp River watersheds, drought conditions are expected to extend into the summer months as flows and levels continue to decline," said the conservation authority.

"Rainfall amounts have been extremely low since April with below-average precipitation forecasted for June and July."

The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority is requesting all water users that are not on the city of Ottawa's municipal distribution network to reduce their water consumption.


Environment Canada is predicting temperatures will be above normal through June, July and August in Ottawa and eastern Ontario.

Phillips notes Ottawa has already had eight days with temperatures hitting 30 C, compared with two days over the same period last year.

"So we've already been tested a lot this year with eight days above 30. Normally, you would get 13 in an entire summer so you've really had a good test for this kind of a hot summer if we have it," said Phillips Thursday morning.

"Our models are suggesting that, 'Hey, more of the same.' It may not be as intensely warm at times as we saw last year, that was a hallmark of last summer, but I think we certainly are going to see more than the number of days above 30 and our models are showing that.

"Hey, if you like your summers hot, it's two in a row that I'm sure you're going to have."