Keeping a Close Eye on Our Waterways

Keeping a Close Eye on Our Waterways

By noon on Friday, May 5, approximately 35 mm of rain had fallen in the Credit River watershed. The rain in southern Ontario continues to fall with another 25 to 30 mm anticipated by noon Saturday.

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is currently operating a Flood Control Center at its head office in Mississauga, in coordination with CVC river watch staff to support municipal services in the field. CVC flood duty officers issued a Flood Watch Statement at 2 p.m., May 3, which remains in effect until May 8 or until further notice.

CVC’s Flood Control Center is keeping a close watch of waterways in the Credit River watershed stretching from Orangeville to Lake Ontario, using weather models to predict conditions for specific locations and the watershed at large.

“We’re getting data in real time from field monitoring stations and staff on the ground. Data is being accessed in real-time by municipal staff across the watershed,” states John Sinnige, Senior Manager, Water Resources and Flood Risk, and Flood Emergency Coordinator in today’s Flood Control Centre at CVC.

Mid-week, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement calling for rainfall between 50 to 70 millimetres in the GTA over a three-day period.  This rainfall, in addition to the 40 millimetres that fell at the beginning of the week, puts a lot of pressure on waterways and riverbanks. The ground is already saturated so there is little ability to absorb the excess rainfall. This increases the risk of flooding.

One of CVC’s core responsibilities is to monitor weather and water levels across the watershed and to issue public warnings when conditions warrant it.  When heavy rainfall is expected, Flood Duty Officers issue a statement using a flood warning and forecasting system to inform municipal partners, emergency services and the public about expected conditions.

Such are the conditions this week. Warning levels include:

flood safety statement
Water safety statement
– warns of high flow that could be dangerous for recreational activities. No flooding is expected.

flood outlook statement
Flood outlook statement
– warns of potential for flooding due to heavy rain or snow melt. Flooding, high runoff or erosion is possible.

flood watch
Flood watch
– (Today’s condition.) Flooding is possible. Municipalities, emergency services and landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

flood warning
Flood warning
– Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.

These messages are issued to help inform everyone of current water levels, expected flooding and to restate the importance of safety around waterways.

In addition to the forecasting system, CVC’s ‘real-time’ water and climate monitoring data is available on its website. This displays data from 57 monitoring stations across the watershed. These stations track the current water and weather conditions in real time so visitors can see the most up-to-date environmental conditions. This data allows CVC engineers and water specialists to better understand, predict and warn about flooding, threats to water quality and low water levels.

Information is available for municipalities and residents at any time.  To see conditions in real-time visit http://www.creditvalleyca.ca/watershed-science/watershed-monitoring/real-time-monitoring/

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