Water conservation still critical in the Grand River watershed
While recent rains may have helped lawns and gardens, they have done very little for river flows and reservoir levels in the Grand River watershed. Water users are being urged to continue reducing their consumption by 20 per cent until conditions improve.
An unusually dry summer has contributed to reduced stream flows across the watershed, and the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) continues to use large upstream reservoirs to augment river flows in order to maintain low flow targets on the Grand and Speed rivers.
The GRCA is operating these reservoirs carefully to support the proper operation of about 30 wastewater treatment plants throughout the watershed. During the dry summer months, more than 80 per cent of the flow in the Grand River comes from upstream reservoirs. This augmentation helps communities that get some or all of their drinking water from the Grand River including Waterloo Region, Brantford and Six Nations.
Whitemans Creek in Brant County is an area of particular concern due to extremely low water levels for this time of year. Levels in the creek are well below 50 per cent of normal late summer levels and there is concern for the potential impact on the cold water fishery. Rainfall in the area has been especially low, with less than 30 per cent of the normal rainfall expected over the last month.
The reminder to stay vigilant with water use reductions came from the Grand River Low Water Response Team, which held a virtual meeting late last week where it was agreed to keep the entire watershed in Level 2 under the Ontario Low Water Response Program until pressure on the system eases this fall. The team is made up of representatives of major water users including municipalities, farmers, golf course operators, water bottlers, aggregate businesses and others.