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Residents along Otonabee River south of Peterborough brace for possible flooding

Click to play video: 'Flood watch issued along Otonabee River'
Flood watch issued along Otonabee River
Rainfall last week combined with gloomy forecasts are prompting flood concerns. Conservation authorities are pleading for vigilance as the possibility of flooding rise. Robert Lothian explains – Apr 16, 2024

Residents living along the Otonabee River in the Peterborough, Ont., area are bracing for potential flooding again this spring.

On Monday, Otonabee Conservation issued a flood watch for the Trent-Severn Waterway and its connected waterbodies including the Otonabee River.

Homeowners on Robinson Island, just south of Peterborough, are keeping their fingers crossed for a dry spring. Among them is Jayne Gaspari who has been living beside the Otonabee River for 24 years.

She’s no stranger to significant flooding.

“Sometimes we need to bring our groceries in by kayak or canoe,” she said on Tuesday.

The last time the Otonabee River had major flooding several years ago, water flowed into her basement. She said she has since raised her house and prepares each spring for potential floodwaters.

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“You make sure you have a lot of food,” she said. “You get stocked up that way and then we just assess. Sometimes we need to move our cars up further. You go where the land is dryer.”

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Otonabee Conservation said multiple days of significant rain led to the flood watch being issued.

“The inflows to the Trent-Severn Waterway have been high and are rising,” said Meredith Carter, manager of the conservation authority’s watershed management program. “And when you get those rising water levels, that obviously increases the potential for flooding.”

“The flows are fast, the water is still very cold, and stream banks may be slippery and unstable,” Carter said. “So the best way to stay safe is to stay away from the water at this time of year.”

Gaspari said she too will monitor the level of the Otonabee River but also continue to enjoy her “slice of paradise” with her granddaughter.

“We’re very fortunate being here,” she said. “It’s like your own paradise here.”

Trent River

A flood watch also extends further south into the jurisdiction of the Lower Trent Conservation (LTC) where officials are monitoring the Trent River (from Hastings to Trenton) and the impending forecast.

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The LTC’s jurisdiction includes Brighton, Quinte West, Trent Hills, and Northumberland and Hastings counties.

“Currently the rain forecast for the next five days could lead to continued high water levels and high flow,” said Gage Comeau, LTC’s watershed management, planning and regulations manager.

Both flood watches will remain in effect for at least two weeks. Residents should take caution along shorelines.

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