Spring Safety Message: Be Careful Around Waterways
Hazardous Conditions On and Around Bodies of Water
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is reminding residents of the dangers that exist near rivers, streams, ponds and lakes this time of year and urging people to keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways. Melting snow combined with spring rainfall and frozen ground that is less able to absorb water can lead to higher and faster flowing water and unstable ice conditions.
The month of February brought heavy snowfall and very cold temperatures which resulted in a large snowpack and a significant amount of river ice in local watercourses. Increasing daytime temperatures have started to gradually melt the snowpack and river ice. Current ice cover along the Credit River may result in ice jams if temperatures and water levels increase rapidly. This may lead to an increased risk of flooding in the coming weeks as we transition into spring.
Be safe this spring and remember the following tips:
- Keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways.
- Unless an area is officially sanctioned for it, avoid all recreational activities on or around water and ice, especially near ice jams.
- Do not attempt to walk on ice-covered water or drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
- If you live close to the water, move objects such as chairs or benches away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them if water levels rise.
- Avoid walking close to or across riverbanks, shorelines and ice-covered water to prevent falling through. Riverbanks and shorelines can be slippery and unstable due to snowmelt and erosion.
- Rescuing a person or pet from icy water is dangerous. If you see anyone that has fallen through the ice call 9-1-1 for help immediately.
- Stay informed with the Alertable app. Alertable is a Canadian public emergency alert system that offers CVC flood alerts in real-time, right to your mobile device. It’s free via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSRB) is forecasting a slow, seasonal rise in Lake Ontario water levels in the coming weeks, which is normal for this time of year. Lake Ontario water levels are approximately 0.6m lower than they were this time last year. Lake Erie water levels remain high and will continue to contribute significant volumes of water to Lake Ontario this year. It is still too early to forecast peak water levels for Lake Ontario for this spring and summer. The range of forecast levels depends on many factors including:
- Inflows from Lake Erie, which currently remain above normal levels.
- Spring rainfall and runoff amounts into Lake Ontario which are yet to occur.
- Spring peak flow of the Ottawa River into the St. Lawrence River, which will influence the outflow of Lake Ontario at the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall.
For more information about Lake Ontario water levels and forecast, please visit the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board website.
You can learn more about Credit Valley Conservation’s Flood Forecasting and Warning System online or call 905-670-1615 between 8:30 and 4:30 (Monday to Friday) and ask for the Flood Duty Officer. If you require assistance due to high water levels in your area, please contact your municipality. For emergencies requiring police, fire or ambulance, call 9-1-1.
For further information, please contact your local conservation authority.
- Credit Valley Conservation - (905) 670-1615
- Toronto & Region Conservation Authority - (416) 661-6514
- Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority - (905) 895-1281
- Conservation Halton - (905) 336-1158
- Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority - (905) 579-0411
- Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority - (905) 885-8173
- Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority - (705) 424-1479
- Kawartha Conservation - (705) 328-2271
Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is a local conservation authority established by the Ontario government in 1954 to protect, restore and enhance the natural environment of the Credit River watershed. That watershed is the area of land where all rainfall, snowmelt and runoff drains (“sheds”) into lands and waters flowing into the Credit River. CVC creates connections between people and nature, knowledge and action. It inspires a deep appreciation for the role of nature in keeping people connected, healthy and happy. CVC is a member of Conservation Ontario.