Quinte Conservation forecasts floods and issues flood warnings to protect life and minimize property damage. Floods can cause shoreline erosion, damage to buildings and possessions, and can make well water unsafe to drink.

The Quinte watershed has experienced floods historically. Floods are often caused by large snow melts, heavy rainfall, ice jams, or a combination of these factors. Although flooding is more common in the spring, floods may occur at any time of year.

Check out our map to see if you live in a high risk flood area.

Prepare for flooding

The Government of Canada website has information on what to do before, during, and after a flood. There is more information on how to make an emergency plan, and an emergency kit in their Floods – What to do brochure.

Flood warnings and forecasts

When there is flooding, we issue flood messages for the Quinte Conservation watershed:

  • WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT: This is a general notice of potential flooding or other conditions that pose a safety risk. There are two kinds of statements:
    • A WATER SAFETY STATEMENT indicates that high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for users such as anglers, boaters, swimmers, children or pets. Flooding is not expected.
    • A FLOOD OUTLOOK STATEMENT gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
  • SHORELINE CONDITIONS STATEMENT: flood outlook (an early notice of the potential for flooding on the Great Lakes based on weather and lake conditions) and water safety information.
  • FLOOD WATCH: This level notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
  • FLOOD WARNING: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.

You can subscribe to receive our flood messages via email.

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry issues Provincial flood messages and lists all local and Provincial messages on their flood forecasting and warning website.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board provides forecasts of Lake Ontario water levels. They issue news releases related to water level regulation and forecasts for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Sandbag your home

Sandbag walls protect your home from flood waters. An effective sandbag wall must be built correctly. Our sandbagging brochure and worksheet and sandbag video contain the information you need to know to build a sandbag wall.

Sandbags, plastic poly, sand, and a pump are required to build your sandbag wall. These materials can be sourced from your local hardware store.

Floodproof your home

Our regulations staff provide advice on how to floodproof your home. You can request a site visit with our regulations staff by filling out a site visit request form.

Spring water awareness

Spring water runoff creates dangerous conditions along waterways. We created a curriculum-based resource kit for teachers to use in area schools to teach children about the dangers of spring waters.

Roles in flood forecasting, warning, preparedness, and response

Quinte Conservation manages flood risk by:

  • monitoring weather conditions, ice, and water levels at stations across the watershed to know when it will flood and how high the water will get;
  • communicating the flood risk to our municipalities and posting flood messages on our website and on social media;
  • operating dams to hold water and reduce flood peaks; and
  • reviewing development in flood-prone areas to reduce future property damage.

We are not responsible for flood fighting. Learn more about our flood forecasting and warning program in our brochure.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board provides forecasts for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Your municipality responds to floods by closing roads, coordinating evacuations, and they may provide sandbags to assist residents in protecting their properties.

You have a role in protecting your property. Be prepared if you live near the water.