It goes without saying this summer has been a little more wet than we’d like. For every hot day, there seems to be two days of rain to make up for it.
Water levels have been rising in local rivers and creeks, but the Grand River Conservation Authority isn’t too concerned just yet.
Dave Schultz, communications manager for GRCA, said July saw about 13 per cent more rain than usual.
“Typically in a month you get 75 mm of rain,” Schultz said. “Up to Friday we had 85. It’s been a little bit wetter than average across most of the watershed for the last 12 months.”
The watershed has been about 15 per cent wetter than the long term average this year, he said, adding the rainfall has been spaced out enough that water from one rainstorm will work itself through the system before the next big drop of rain.
“In terms of the flows in the rivers and streams and the way we manage our reservoirs it hasn’t been too bad because the rains have been spread out,” Schultz said. “You’ll get a burst of rain, the rivers will go up, but then it will settle down.”
Compared to last year, Schultz thinks they’re doing alright. At one point last summer a lot of storms came one after the other, making managing the reservoirs a careful process.
“Last year we had cases even in midsummer where the reservoirs filled up quite high,” Schultz said. “This year we’ve just had little bumps in the reservoir levels but we haven’t had to change our operating procedures very much.”
Typically, they fill the reservoirs with the spring runoff. Once they’re full, which is usually around June 1, they’ll release that water to make sure there’s a minimum level of water in the river to maintain things like sewage treatment facilities.
The GRCA has issued a few water level notices this summer, to caution those who use the river for recreational purposes.
“For fly fishermen in particular, they like to get out into the river, so if the water’s high it may be too high for them to stand in the river,” Schultz said. “It’s nice for them to know that before they make the effort.”
It’s also important to warn canoeists and kayakers about higher than usual water levels. While more experienced paddlers might welcome the challenge, it could be a deterrent for new paddlers.
With more rain in the forecast, Schultz said they’ll continue to watch the river and adjust accordingly.