Low Water Response
What is Ontario Low Water Response?
Ontario Low Water Response is intended to ensure provincial preparedness, to assist in coordination and to support local response in the event of a drought.
Water Response Teams are initiated by Conservation Authorities (or MNR in Districts where Conservation Authorities do not exist) and are tailored to individual watersheds. They provide a watershed context and coordinated response. The Lakehead Water Response Team has membership from: LRCA, OPG, MNRF, MOECC, OMAFRA, City of Thunder Bay, Municipality of Oliver Paipoonge and Resolute Forest Products.
The role of the Water Response Team is to coordinate local action to minimize the impacts of drought. Water Response Teams do not replace existing agencies, policies and statutes but rather they facilitate the coordination of water management agencies, non-government groups and users. Water Response Teams do not possess any unique legislative authority but can help by advising on the current regulations and tools. The program also provides analysis and documentation of low water conditions.
Fresh water is a natural resource critical to the economic and environmental well-being of Northwestern Ontario. Water supports almost all aspects of our lives including health, recreation and industrial development.
Historically, periods of dry weather and low water levels or drought were relatively uncommon in this area occurring once every 10 - 15 years. However recent studies on changing weather patterns indicate that low water levels may become more common as our demand for water steadily increases.
Local conditions are determined by analyzing data collected through the Lakehead Region Conservation Authority's Streamflow and Precipitation Gauge Network and manual precipitation gauges. When conditions fall below the criteria, a Low Water Condition is declared (see indicators summarized below).
The LRCA's Streamflow Gauge Network consists of gauges on the Slate, Neebing, McIntyre, Current, Whitefish and North Current Rivers as well as McVicar and Corbett Creeks. Other gauges are operated by Environment Canada, Ontario Power Generation and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. The gauges provide data on rainfall and water levels.
For more information, please visit Government of Ontario's Low Water Response Program.
Low Water Level Indicators
| || Water users will be asked to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 10%. |
| || Water users will be asked to voluntarily reduce their water use by 20% or greater. |
| || Voluntary measures have not produced the necessary response. Restrictions proposed by the Water Response Team and approved by the Government of Ontario will be put into action. |
Water Conservation Tips
- Repair all leaking water fixtures such as toilets and taps
- Don't rinse food or dishes under the tap - use water in a bowl or the sink instead
- Keep a jug of water in the fridge rather than running the tap for cold water
- Use water and energy saving cycle on dishwasher
- Use the dishwasher only when full
- Use Low Flow toilets and shower heads
- Don't run the water while brushing teeth
- Take a shower rather than a bath
- Shower for 5-minutes instead of 10 - it saves about 40-litres of water
- Wash only full loads of laundry
- Don't water your lawn or garden during Low Water conditions
- Water lawn or garden once a week in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation
- Leave grass clippings on the lawn to retain moisture
- Plant drought resistant trees, plants and grasses