Conservation Halton, in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources, 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 1 – 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
Download MNR Low Water Response Guidelines here.
Conservation Halton issued the following media release on December 11, 2012 declaring water levels have returned to normal
BURLINGTON – Due to the amount of rainfall in September and October being above average, the Conservation Halton watershed has returned to a normal condition. As a result, Conservation Halton is officially removing the Level I Low Water Condition from its watershed and returning to a Normal designation.
In the months of September and October 2012, the Conservation Halton watershed received an average of almost 119 mm of rain or 151 per cent of normal. Rain received in November was quite low at 14 mm however the three-month average for September to November was still 87 mm, or 104 per cent of normal.
As a result of the above-average precipitation in September and October, flows in watershed creeks have increased considerably and are either at or above-average for this time of the year. 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 watersheds located in Burlington and Oakville.
On June 8, Conservation Halton declared a Level I Low Water Condition for its watershed. The lack of snow accumulation over the winter resulted in lower runoff from melting snow, and below average rainfall in the spring had reduced the water flows and levels in local streams.
"It was necessary to go to a Level I Low Water Condition for our watershed because of our very dry winter and spring and there was simply not enough rain in the summer to get creek flows and water levels back to normal," said Diane Bloomfield, Project Manager. "The steady, consistent rain the Conservation Halton watershed received in September and October has brought levels back to normal. We thank everyone for their efforts to conserve water."
The three-month average for March to May was approximately 102 mm with a three-month average of 45 percent of normal. 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. From June to August, the Halton watershed received 185 mm of rainfall, with a three-month average of 75 per cent of normal.