Recent rainfall across Quinte has had no impact on low water conditions. Water Resources Manager Christine McClure says, “Over Sunday and Monday we received an average of 5 millimetres of rain across the watershed. Belleville received the most with 10 millimetres, while areas like Tweed received only about one millimeter. This has done nothing to help the current low water situation. We need between 75 and 100 millimetres of slow, steady rain to make any difference. Rain that falls quickly in thunderstorms does little to help the groundwater as it runs off instead of soaking into the ground”
McClure adds, “The long range forecasts do not show much rain, either. It looks as though the hot and dry conditions will continue into the fall. This means we are at risk of moving into a Level 3 Low Water Condition unless we receive a steady amount of rain.”
Quinte Conservation will be meeting with the Low Water Response Team to go over current conditions next week. A Level 2 Low Water Condition was declared by Quinte Conservation and the Low Water Response Team due to lack of rainfall and low flows in local rivers and streams on July 12. The area has been experiencing low water conditions since the beginning of June.
A Level 2 Low Water Condition indicates a potentially serious water supply problem. This level often means minor water supply issues are encountered and there is the potential for major supply problems. During a Level 2 Low Water Condition residents, businesses and municipalities are asked to reduce their non-essential water usage by 20%. Non-essential use includes lawn watering and the washing of sidewalks, decks, buildings or driveways.
A Level 2 condition is managed through Conservation Authorities, municipalities and other key provincial agencies. Low water conditions are ranked as Level 1, 2 or 3 based on a prolonged period of low flows or precipitation. A Level 1 is the least severe and Level 3 is the most severe.
The environmental organization is encouraging any individuals or businesses in the Quinte watersheds who experience problems or hardships, such as wells going dry, to contact Quinte Conservation by calling 613-968-3434 or 613-354-3312 and dialing extension 130. Reports can also be emailed to These reports will help the organization track the impacts of the Low Water Condition.
McClure says, “In the summer months close to 50% of water usage in the average home happens in the lawn and garden. Hand watering vegetable gardens in the early morning or evening and not watering the lawn can go a long way toward conserving water. Toilets and showers use the most water inside the home so any possible conservation in those areas will also be a help.”
Well owners should take steps to protect their well pump. A licensed contractor can be hired to check water levels, make sure the pump is working well and make sure the pump is protected against running dry.
The local environmental agency will continue to monitor precipitation and stream flows and provide updates. Quinte Conservation encourages everyone to use water wisely and apply water conservation measures. Tips on water conservation can be found on the Quinte Conservation website at
Quinte Conservation is the lead for the local Water Response Team (WRT) for all of Prince Edward County and the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers. The team includes representation from municipalities, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs, and local industry. The WRT is formed when the watershed is in a Level 1 condition. Water Response Teams monitor local conditions carefully and work with local water users to reduce demand and mitigate the effects of water shortages.