Submitted by RCVA
A cool March combined with above-average snowfall amounts this winter means the snowpack is higher than average for this time of year across much of the Rideau Valley Watershed. This creates potential for above-average flooding in all low-lying areas adjacent to any rivers, creeks or ditches.
Water levels and flows are expected to increase in all waterways in the Rideau Valley Watershed. Potential flooding areas could include Stevens Creek and any connected creeks or ditches (near North Gower), which are highly susceptible to spring flooding. There is also potential for flooding of larger rivers (including the Rideau River) now into early April depending on weather.
Parks Canada staff who manage water levels for the Rideau Canal will closely monitor water levels and have indicated that the levels are expected to rise as the snowpack begins to melt.
City of Ottawa crews continue their annual ice removal program on the Rideau River between Rideau Falls and Bronson Avenue. City crews are busy with ice breaking activities (for more information: City of Ottawa information at 311).
With changing levels expected over the coming weeks, ice cover on lakes, ditches, local streams and rivers will continue to be unstable. Extreme caution should be exercised by everyone when near local waterbodies. Parents should inform their children of the risks and provide appropriate supervision.
As temperatures continue to rise, the potential for ice jams remains high in some local streams and rivers, as flows could quickly increase before the ice can melt. Residents are advised to monitor their local waterbody closely for signs of ice jams as spring progresses. RVCA staff will be monitoring conditions, but we always welcome unique observations from watershed residents.
Potential flooding along roadways is also a concern due to current snow/ice buildup on roadside ditches.
Residents in flood-prone or low-lying areas historically susceptible to flooding should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve
- Ensuring easy access to a portable backup generator and pump
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 metres from the dwelling
- Securing items that might float away as flows increase
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
- Keeping emergency phone numbers handy
- Familiarizing yourself with your municipality’s Emergency Preparedness Plan
More information, including our Flood Contingency Plan and real-time water level and stream flow data, can be found at www.rvca.ca/watershed-conditions.