Level 2 low-water conditions now declared in large part of SNC jurisdiction

The South Nation River in Chesterville, on Canada Day, 2020. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Cut water usage 20 percent, SNC requests

FINCH — As the region bakes in a heatwave and languishes in the tightening grip of a drought, South Nation Conservation (SNC) has escalated the recognized low-water condition into the moderate — or Level II — benchmark in the river’s “upper subwatershed.” That area includes portions of Augusta, Edwardsburgh/Cardinal, Elizabethtown-Kitley, South Dundas, South Stormont, North Grenville, North Dundas, North Stormont, Russell, Casselman, and Nation.

The remainder of the South Nation region remains at a Level I — or minor — low-water status, as originally declared across the watershed by SNC’s Water Response Team on June 29.

The Team includes local representatives from provincial and municipal governments, agriculture, and other special interest groups, who met again July 9 to discuss current conditions and next steps. Members reported observations of dried-up streams, reduced crop yields, and increased demand on municipal well water, according to SNC.

Data collected from precipitation and stream gauges also went into the determination. In the past two weeks, says SNC, conditions within the upper subwatershed have worsened “due to persistent hot and dry weather, causing flows in rivers and streams to continue declining.

“Evaporation could become a significant concern if current conditions persist.”

SNC advises residents, businesses, and other industries throughout the upper subwatershed that they can help mitigate the situation by reducing water consumption by 20 percent and limiting non-essential uses. Residents should also be aware of their municipality’s water conservation and fire by-laws.

The rest of the watershed in Level I low-water status should continue to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 10 percent.

Property owners are encouraged to contact SNC if they are experiencing issues with their well. Should low water conditions worsen, shallow wells may go dry, warns the local watershed authority.

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