Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority

includes a request for a 10% voluntary reduction in water useLevel 1 Low Water Advisory

Water Response Team issues Level 1 Low Water Advisory for Bayfield River watershed

August 10, 2018

Water Response Team keeps in effect Level 1 Low Water Advisory for Bayfield River watershed 

Low streamflow has not recovered from hot, dry weather earlier this year despite recent rains   

The Water Response Team (WRT) has announced that a Level 1 Low Water Advisory will remain in place for the Bayfield River watershed area of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) through at least the month of October. With the exception of August, warm and dry weather patterns persisted since the spring. Despite a return of wetter weather in late September and into October, watersheds have yet to fully recover. The Bayfield River watershed has been hit hardest by drought conditions, receiving only two thirds of the rainfall measured across the remainder of the ABCA watershed. 

Monthly streamflow in the Bayfield River watershed is at only six per cent of the September normal, as measured at the Varna stream gauge. ABCA Water Resources Coordinator Davin Heinbuck said streamflow is the best visual indicator of recovery. “Although we have seen recent increases in rainfall amounts, we will remain cautious until we see a recovery back to seasonal levels and sustained base flow,” said Heinbuck. “With a lower demand in water use and the seasonal slow-down in plant growth, a higher percentage of rainfall we receive should be available to replenish groundwater and streamflow,” he said. Until indications of a recovery are observed, a Level 1 Advisory will remain in place. 

Water Response Team Chair Doug Cook said that streamflow is still quite low relative to normal for this time of year “so we continue to ask water users to voluntarily reduce the amount of water they use by at least 10 per cent.” 

There are three levels of low-water advisories. Level 1, the least serious, asks water users to voluntarily reduce use by 10 per cent. Level 2 is more serious and asks for an additional 10 per cent voluntarily water use reduction for a total of 20 per cent. A Level 3 low-water advisory would be the most serious and could include mandatory water use restrictions for holders of permits-to-take-water.

For ways you can reduce water use, please visit the water quantity and water conservation page at at this link:

The Water Response Team was formed in 2001 in response to the low water and drought conditions that year and the team has been active ever since. The WRT includes representatives of major water users (such as aggregate industries; agriculture and vegetable growers; and golf and recreation) and includes local municipal representatives and staff of provincial ministries (such as Natural Resources and Forestry; Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; and Environment, Conservation and Parks). ABCA staff will continue to monitor rainfall and streamflow data and keep the public informed of any changes in watershed conditions. 

Visit for further resources on the Ontario low water response program or the website at for the dynamic low-water advisory tool which alerts people to low-water advisories in effect in the watershed.

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