Current Flood Status
Conservation Authority Roles & Responsibilities
The CRCA, in cooperation with local municipalities and the Province, plays an important role in protecting life and property from natural hazards such as flooding. Working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Environment Canada, the CRCA is responsible for monitoring and predicting flood flows and water levels within our jurisdiction, operating flood control structures such as dams and disseminating flood messages to local municipalities and agencies.
Conservation Authorities use data gathered from stream gauges, weather stations, snow surveys, meteorological forecasts and computer models to forecast potential floods.
Programs and services to prevent and control flooding offered by Conservation Authorities include:
- monitoring conditions
- computer modeling and forecasting flooding
- issuing flood messages
- regulation of development in flood prone areas
- provide planning support and advice to municipalities to minimize the impact of flooding
- protecting significant ecosystems such as wetlands and forests that help to control flooding; and education the public
Flooding Information, FAQ's & Links
Current and forecast Lake Ontario water level information
The federal government monitors Lake Ontario levels and provides forecasts for future conditions. This information is available at http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/C&A/recent-forecast-eng.html. Forecasts are typically prepared each month. It was forecast that the highest water levels would occur around early June. However, significant rainfall has occurred which could change the May and June predictions.
Factors that influence Lake Ontario water levels
There are three types of water level fluctuations – long-term, seasonal, short-period, and wind generated waves. These fluctuations are explained at http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/C&A/fluctuations-eng.html. There are also natural factors that affect water levels, they are also explained at http://www.waterlevels.gc.ca/C&A/natural-factors-eng.html. The current high water levels are due to the above normal rainfall across the watershed. There is more water coming into Lake Ontario than can be drained out of the St. Lawrence River which is causing a rise in Lake Ontario levels. The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority does not control Lake Ontario water levels.
International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board (International Joint Commission)
The water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are currently well above average for this time of year. Shoreline residents should take care as these high water levels, combined with high winds and waves, could cause erosion and damage to their shoreline and shoreline infrastructure. For further details on water level data and frequently asked questions please see the links below:
- International Joint Commission News Releases – Current high water levels
- Frequently Asked Questions – Lake Ontario Water Levels
Ontario Flood Forecasting & Warning
Provincial Flood Watch for Lake Ontario issued by the Surface Water Monitoring Centre of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Monday May 8th, 2017 at 12:00 PM. For details see the Ontario Flood Map website listed below.
What should I do if I want to protect my property from erosion?
- Contact a CRCA Development Officer by emailing email@example.com. The Development Officer can discuss your options for protecting your shoreline.
- If current high water levels are causing shoreline erosion on your property, please take photos to document your losses. This will assist in evaluating future repairs to the shoreline.
- This is not the optimal time for performing in-water work along the shoreline. High water levels combined with wind and wave action will make it difficult to work.
- CRCA approval is required under Ontario Regulation 148/06 prior to any work on a shoreline. CRCA staff will work to issue permissions in an expedited manner.
- Residents are encouraged to contact other agencies such as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Fisheries and Oceans Canada prior to initiating any shoreline works to ensure that their project is compliant with applicable legislation.
If lake levels are approaching a building, a sandbag berm may be appropriate. It takes an average of 600 sandbags to cover a 100 foot section, 1-foot high. To purchase sandbags call your local hardware store or contact one of the following companies (note: availability and price are subject to change):
- Burtex Industries, Weston ON 1-800-268-0908 – Cost per sandbag ranges from $0.59-$1.11 cost based on 1,000+ bags, shipping is extra.
- Marathon Watch Company, Richmond Hill ON 1-800-822-4329 – Cost per sandbag $2.50 plus shipping.
- Polytarp Products, Toronto ON 1-800-606-2231 – $79.35 case of 250 (17×28) $80.00 case of 200 (20×30) – Minimum order of $600, shipping is extra.
You can also contact your municipality for further information regarding sandbags.
See the video below produced by Quinte Conservation for directions on how to build a sandbag wall.
Building a sandbag wall is an effective method to protect your home and property from rising water levels during a flooding event. Approximately 600 filled sandbags are required to create a wall approximately 30 m (100 ft) in length by 0.3 m ( 1 ft) in height.
CRCA does not distribute sand or sandbags to municipalities, the public or other agencies. Please contact your municipality directly for more information on the availability of sand and sandbags within your municipality.
After a flood, the sandbags will need to be removed. Sand that contacts flood water may be contaminated with oil, gasoline, sewage, or other contaminants, and should be treated as hazardous waste for disposal. Dumping sand from used sandbags onto your private property is not recommended, and it is not permitted to dump sand into a watercourse, wetland, or floodplain. Please contact your municipality or local landfill for more information on disposal methods. Re-using sandbags is not recommended because the material can deteriorate over time.
Sandbags can be purchased from the private bulk supplies listed below, and local hardware stores may also sell sandbags. The contact information is subject to change.
Burtex Industries: 66 Bartor Road Weston ON. Tel: 1-416-745-2711. Toll Free: 1-800-268-0908. Fax: 1-416-740-2261. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Les Abris Harnois (Harnois Shelters): 507 Route 158 St. Thomas QC. Tel: 1-866-661-6646. Fax: 1-450-755-6878
Marathon Watch Company Ltd: 1-8355 Jane Street Vaughan ON. Tel: 1-905-764-9420. Toll Free: 1-800-822-4329. Email: email@example.com
Polytarp Products: 350 Wildcat Road Toronto ON. Tel: 1-416-633-2231 ext. 280. Toll Free: 1-800-606-2231 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Private companies that offer proprietary flood control products are listed below. CRCA does not have experience using these products for flood control. The contact information is subject to change.
MegaSecur Inc. – Water-Gate barrier
Toll Free: 1-888-756-0222
Fontaine Aquanox – Flood Fencing
Toll Free: 1-855-769-0157
The video below was produced by Quinte Conservation, and it provides details on how to properly build a sandbag wall.
For information on how to protect your property from flooding, what to do after a flood and emergency preparedness see the links below.
Flood Messages & What They Mean
When flooding is possible, or about to occur, the CRCA issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials, the media and the public. In a flooding emergency situation, municipalities take the lead as they are responsible for emergency reponse under provincial legislation. Each municipality has an emergency response plan which deals with many situations including flooding.
Click the tabs below for a description of each flood message level
Normal: No flood conditions exist
Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety: High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook: 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.
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or 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.