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Flood watch issued for section of Trent-Severn Waterway in Otonabee Region watershed

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Many residents are enjoying this early spring blast of warmer weather. But with the good comes the bad - a flood watch remains in-place for a section of the Trent Severn Waterway in the Otonabee Region watershed. Mark Giunta reports – Mar 22, 2021

A flood watch has been issued for the section of the Trent-Severn Waterway that is within the Otonabee Region watershed in central Ontario.

According to Otonabee Conservation, expected rainfall this weekend, followed by seven to 10 days of anticipated double-digit daytime temperatures, could impact snowmelt in the Haliburton Lakes/Reservoir Lakes Region of the watershed.

Officials say there is an average of 100 millimetres of water equivalency in the snowpack in the Haliburton region.

A flood watch means municipalities, emergency services, and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare for possible flooding.

Read more: Study indicates Canadian cities not doing enough to lower flood risk, earn ‘C+’ grade

“The forecasted warmer air temperatures are expected to release a significant portion of the snowpack’s water content, causing rising water levels and flows in the lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and wetlands of the Haliburton Lakes/Reservoir Lakes Region,” stated Gord Earle, conservation authority flood forecasting and warning duty officer.

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Earle says the Haliburton Lakes/Reservoir Lakes Region is hydrologically connected to the Kawartha Lakes, the Otonabee River, Rice Lake and the Trent River, which could see water levels rise, “possibly rapidly.”

“Increasing water levels on the Kawartha Lakes will, in turn, increase the water level/flow on the Otonabee River, which will then raise water levels on Rice Lake, and beyond,” he said.

“Also, rising water levels are often the impetus for ice-cover break-up on the Kawartha Lakes, leading to ice damage along shorelines and the loosening of shoreline debris. Ice/debris can accumulate around water control/water conveyance structures — dams, culverts, and bridges — possibly causing localized flooding behind the ice/debris jam.”

Earle says all area residents should immediately prepare for possible flooding and remain away from all water bodies and watercourses and stay clear of anywhere that water can be seen to be accumulating and ponding.

Read more: A mild spring is in the forecast for Peterborough area

The Otonabee Region watershed includes Peterborough, the City of Kawartha Lakes and the townships of Selwyn, Douro-Dummer, Asphodel-Norwood, Otonabee-South Monaghan and Cavan Monaghan, and the Municipality of Trent Hills.

The flood watch will remain in effect until April 1.

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