Low rainfall and hot weather can result in low flows and low groundwater levels. This can affect the amount of water available for drinking water, agriculture and industry, as well as the health of the ecosystem. The Grand River Low Water Response Program coordinates and supports the response to low water. The program is based on the Ontario Low Water Response Program.
The program is directed at holders of Permits to Take Water. The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change issues permits to those who take more than 50,000 litres of water a day from a lake, river, stream or well. That includes municipal water systems and private users such as golf courses, factories, aggregate pits, farmers who irrigate and others.
Many municipalities have their own water conservation programs that run parallel to the Low Water Response Program. Even those water users who are not required to have permits are also urged to conserve water in low water conditions.
The Grand River Low Water Response Team meets when needed to review stream flows and weather information. If necessary, it will declare a Low Water Condition for all or part of the Grand River watershed.
The team members represent major water users: municipalities, First Nations, farmers, golf courses, gravel pits, water bottlers and others. Representatives of provincial ministries sit on the committee as advisory, non-voting members. The GRCA coordinates the work of the team.
Check current conditions in the Summer Low Flow Condition Summary chart.
The Low Water Response Program has three condition levels. The levels are based on trends in flows and rainfall.
Many municipalities have their own water use bylaws that include restrictions on lawn watering, car washing and other activities. In some cases, the restrictions follow the levels of the Low Water Response Plan. Consult your municipal website for more information.