water faucet

Saugeen Valley Conservation Authority has declared a Level 1 Low Water Condition for the entire watershed as of Thursday, June 10. The declaration came in response to persistent dry conditions and as a result SVCA is encouraging a voluntarily 10 percent reduction in non-essential water consumption to help mitigate the impacts of low water conditions.

In a June 10 media release, the voluntary 10 percent reduction includes areas within Saugeen Shores, Arran-Elderslie, Chatsworth, Grey Highlands, Southgate, West Grey, Brockton, South Bruce, Kincardine, Huron-Kinloss, Wellington-North and Minto.

Over the past three months, May to March, drier than normal conditions have been observed throughout the watershed. SVCA's rain gauge network has recorded a total average of 132 millimeters of rainfall, which is only 56 percent of the historical three month average of 233 millimeters for this time of year.

In accordance with the Ontario Low Water Response (OLWR) Program, a Level 1 status is declared when a watershed receives less than 80 percent of the normal amount of rainfall over a three month period. According to long-term forecasts, lower than average rainfall is expected to continue into June, which could further impact stream flows and water supplies.

A Level 1 is the lowest of three levels and the first indication of a water supply problem. SVCA is asking residential, agricultural, and commercial water users to do their part in achieving a 10 percent reduction in water consumption, by limiting nonessential uses and through the following water conservation practices:

1. Repair leaking fixtures.
2. Use water collected from a rain barrel to water plants.
3. If you must water your lawn, do so in the early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation loss.
4. When running the tap, collect excess water and use it to water plants or wash your fruits and vegetables.
5. Choose native, drought-resistant plants for your garden, as they are well suited for the climate and need little to no watering.
6. Reduce your shower time.
7. Wash your car less frequently.

SVCA will continue to monitor watershed conditions and provide updates as new information becomes available.