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2006 1 www.lakeheadca.com Ontario Low Water Response (OLWR)

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Presentation on theme: "2006 1 www.lakeheadca.com Ontario Low Water Response (OLWR)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Ontario Low Water Response (OLWR)

2 What is OLWR? A response plan to minimize the effects of drought The intension is to ensure provincial preparedness, to assist and to support local response in the event of a drought. Where did it come from? Result of 1998 – 1999 drought Developed by the: Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Ministry of the Environment (MOE) Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (MMAH) Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) Conservation Ontario (CO)

3 Stream flow and Weather Monitoring The MNR, Conservation Authorities, Environment Canada and the MOE monitor stream flow and weather data. Data is collected from various stream flow/precipitation gauges on various watersheds in the province. Every week the MNR Surface Water Monitoring Centre compares stream flow and precipitation data to long-term records. When current conditions fall below the drought indicator levels, the Low Water Response Program takes affect. MNR staff consult with the Conservation Authority, MOE, OMAF and local MNR staff when stream flow and weather data indicate that an area may be in a Level I, II or III low water condition.

4 MNR Low Water Level Indicators Level ILevel IILevel III Rain < 80% of the monthly average < 60% of the monthly average < 40% of the monthly average Streamflow Spring: Monthly flow < 100% of the lowest average summer month flow Spring: Monthly flow < 70% of the lowest average summer month flow Spring: Monthly flow < 50% of the lowest average summer month flow Other times: Monthly flow < 70% of the lowest average summer month flow Other times: Monthly flow < 50% of the lowest average summer month flow Other times: Monthly flow < 30% of the lowest average summer month flow

5 Water Response Teams (WRT) Teams are initiated by the Conservation Authority (or MNR Districts where CAs do not exist) and are tailored to individual watersheds Water Response Teams are the key to drought response They provide a watershed context and coordinated response WRT may have membership from: Agriculture Rural Private Industry Recreation Resource Managers First Nations Municipal Government Provincial Government (MNR, MOE, OMAF) Business

6 Roles of the WRT The ROLE of the WRT is to coordinate local actions to minimize the impacts of drought. WRTs do not replace existing agencies, policies and statutes but rather they facilitate the coordination of water management agencies, non-government groups and users. WRTs do not possess any unique legislative authority but can help by advising on the current regulations and tools.

7 Agency Roles and Responsibilities Conservation Authorities Maintain precipitation and stream-flow monitoring networks Monitor local stream health and water quality Lead watershed characterization Strong links with community groups, media, government Operate dams and reservoirs (LRCA only operates flow structures, no ability to regulate flow) In field verification of MNR low flow data Administer section of the Fisheries Act Initiate Water Response Team (only in area of jurisdiction)

8 Agency Roles and Responsibilities cont. Ministry of Natural Resources Maintain provincial stream flow and precipitation network Analysis of data and application of drought indicators Administer portions of the Fisheries Act (requirement to maintain base flows) Administer Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act Operate dams and reservoirs Links with outdoor recreation groups Participate as a representative of the province but are not a voting member of the WRT

9 Agency Roles and Responsibilities cont. Ministry of the Environment Assist in maintaining monitoring networks Manage the Permit to Take Water (PTTW) Program (All users taking more than 50,000 litres per day are required to have a permit) Communication link with permit holders Administer the Ontario Water Resources Act and Environmental Protection Act Participate as a representative of the province but are not a voting member of the WRT

10 Agency Roles and Responsibilities cont. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food Links with the agriculture water users Conservation messages Participate as a representative of the province but are not voting members of the WRT

11 Agency Roles and Responsibilities cont. Local Municipalities Monitor and control water supplies Bylaws (i.e. alternate lawn watering days) Strongly promote water conservation Link with large commercial and industrial consumers Responsibilities under the Emergency Plans Act

12 WRT Member Responsibilities: Attend meetings Communicating back to their sectors Sharing relevant data (i.e. Precipitation, streamflow and groundwater level data, PTTW permit holders etc.) Implementing drought management tools (i.e. municipal by-laws, coordinated irrigation signage, public awareness communications) Confirm local conditions Plan a conservation strategy Communicate the conservation plan

13 Three Levels of Response Level I – Potential water supply problems Voluntary Conservation 10% use reduction Communications Level II – Minor problems, potential major supply problems Conservation and restrictions on non-essential uses Further 10% use reduction Communications, manage supply, impose restrictions Level III – Supply fails to meet demand, social and economic impact Conservation, restrictions, regulation Decisions regarding water use restrictions/supply options move to provincial directors

14 OLWR in the LRCA Jurisdiction: LRCA jurisdiction is mainly made up of un-regulated watercourses The only regulated water course is the Kam River, which is managed by OPG and the MNR LRCA operates flow structures, none of which can be manipulated to alter flows In the event of low water conditions, the MOE would restrict PTTW permit holders Municipalities can enforce by-laws to regulate non-essential water consumption Voluntary conservation is the main measure that the LRCA would promote during a low water event

15 OLWR Summary: LRCA is to coordinate OWLR response for area of jurisdiction (outside jurisdiction, MNR coordinates) In the LRCA jurisdiction, most watersheds are unregulated, therefore flow is not controlled MOE manages and regulates the PTTW program Voluntary conservation is the main measure that can be promoted/implemented during a low water event in our area Municipalities can enforce/implement by-laws to restrict non-essential water consumption Province assumes decision making role at Level III


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