Quinte Conservation and the Low Water Response Team have declared a Level 2 Low Water Condition due to lack of rainfall and low flows in local rivers and streams. Quinte Conservation Water Resources Manager Christine McClure says, “We have received approximately 50% of average rainfall across the watershed over the past three months. This means that some lake and river levels are visibly lower than they would normally be for this time of year. Flows in the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers continue to be extremely low and we need a significant amount of rain to change that. The Water Response Team met Tuesday morning and declared that we are now in a Level 2 Low Water Condition.”
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. 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.
McClure explains, “We confirm low water conditions using two criteria – precipitation and stream flow. Both criteria are low for this time of year and more typically seen at the end of summer or early fall. The last extended period of low water in our area occurred in 2012.”
With the potential for the dry summer to continue, Quinte Conservation says it’s time for residents, businesses and municipalities to get serious about conserving water. The environmental organization is asking residents and businesses in the region to reduce non-essential water usage by 20 per cent until the supply is replenished. People on private wells should be especially careful of their water usage. Non-essential water use includes the outside watering of plants and lawns, and washing driveways and sidewalks. Those with permits to take water are also urged to reduce their current usage by 20 per cent.
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 morning and not watering the lawn can go a long way toward conserving water. A brown lawn in a hot dry summer does not mean the grass is dead – it’s only dormant. There is a small part of the plant, called the crown, that is still alive and after rainfall the grass will green up in one to two weeks.”
Quinte Conservation reminds the public that fires are not allowed at local conservation areas.
Quinte Conservation issued the first low water warning this year on June 2. 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.