There is an average to slightly below average snowpack within the Ottawa River watershed. The EOC is actively working with external partners to monitor water levels, which are currently normal or close to normal along the Ottawa River basin. With ongoing warm weather and forecast precipitation over the next few days, water levels and flows on the main stem of the Ottawa River are expected to begin to increase and should remain close to seasonal values over the next few days.
Conditions may change as we proceed through the normal spring freshet period, understanding that spring flooding is largely influenced by three main factors:
- The amount of snow within the watershed.
- The onset of warm temperatures, duration of increased temperatures, and the extent of the watershed affected by increased temperatures.
- Significant rain events or ongoing precipitation across large areas of the watershed.
For more information on water levels and flood plains, please consult Ottawa.ca
The Ottawa River Regulatory Planning Board is updated regularly.
Resources to Support Residents
As flooding is an annual event in Ottawa, the City will continue to make sand and sandbags available for residents at select locations across the community. The City has approximately 360,000 unfilled sandbags in inventory as well as over 21,000 tons of reclaimed sand ready to be deployed if required.
Sandbag stations are already in place. The current locations for sand and sandbag filling sites are as follows:
- 29 Hurdman Road
- 4244 Rideau Valley Drive
- 911 Industrial Avenue
- 2941 March Road
- 2264 Colonial Road (Navan)
- 4127 John Shaw (Kinburn)
- 2145 Roger Stevens Drive
- 2481 Scrivens Drive
Residents who plan to collect sand and sandbags from these locations are asked to maintain physical distancing from others and to bring their own shovels, gloves and any other tools they may require.
The City’s Spring Flooding 2021 information webpage has been updated on Ottawa.ca and the City’s Spring Flooding 2021 Facebook page went live on March 12, 2021. The City will also issue feature stories to promote awareness of spring flooding and personal emergency preparedness. Other tools, such as a how-to video on making sandbags, pamphlets and signage are available to assist residents in their preparations.
For information on City flood preparedness, see the following website which will be refreshed in the coming weeks:
For information on water levels, see the following websites:
- Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority
- Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board – New information available in 2021
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
- Rideau Valley Conservation Authority – New Information available in 2021
- South Nation Conservation
For information on flood plains, see the following websites:
- Floodplain Mapping – Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (mvc.on.ca)
- Neighbourhood Flood Maps (rvca.ca) – New Information available in 2021
- The 100-year flood plain map
For information on Ontario Power Generation, see the following websites:
- Ontario Power Generation (link is external) – New Information available in 2021
- Ontario Power Generation Freshet Information (link is external) – New Information available in 2021
Government of Canada and Province of Ontario information on flooding, see the following websites:
- Get Prepared: Home – Government of Canada
- Floods – Government of Canada
- Flood Ready – Canada.ca – Government of Canada Flood Ready Program and Information website – New Information available in 2021
- Flood Forecasting and Warning Program – Province of Ontario
- Flood Smart Canada
- Tips to prevent basement flooding
- Information about Residential Flooding on OttawaPublicHealth.ca
- Information about Staff gauges and how the City records water levels.
For more tips on preventing basement flooding, refer to the Handbook for Reducing Basement Flooding from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.
The term freshet is commonly used to describe a large increase of water discharged in a river during spring months due to snow melt and sometimes rainfall. This can lead to seasonal flooding in low lying areas along rivers. The Ottawa River watershed, at approximately 146,000 km2 is an extremely large river system that experiences flooding to some degree every spring. The Ottawa River watershed conveys water from many rivers including the Rideau River. The Rideau River spring freshet typically peaks in advance of the Ottawa River.