Wells are running dry
Phillip Thompson knows what it feels like to turn on the tap and have no water come gushing out.
He told The Review last week that due to lack of rain, his surface well has officially run dry.
"I'm just waiting for lots of rain to come," Thompson said. "We have to go to Hawkesbury for laundry and we fill up many tanks of water so we can flush the toilets."
He said the kids have been bathing in the river and both he and his wife are traveling to Herb's Travel Plaza to use the showers there.
He said his family is "managing" but the situation is certainly inconvenient.
"Yes, we are managing but all this water hauling is getting to be a little much," Thompson noted.
Plantagenet resident Marcie Joanette told The Review her surface well has also run dry and she is relying on bottles and jugs of water to accomplish simple tasks.
"I opened my tap last week to start some dishes and nothing came out," Joanette said. "I was pretty shocked. I knew water levels were low but I guess I never expected I would turn on the tap and nothing would come out."
Joanette said showers are a "priority" right now, but her neighbour is allowing her and her children to use his pool to cool off and stay clean.
"When something like this happens, you realize how much you take for granted," she commented. "This is bad. I've never had anything like this happen before."
Water trucks could be seen filling up shallow surface wells around Plantagenet on Saturday, July 14 and Sunday, July 15.
Gilles Gervais called in a water truck to replenish his well, just in case.
"If we don't get rain, every single well out here is going to dry up," he remarked. "I'll pay the extra money and have mine filled so that doesn't happen."
Alfred-Plantagenet Township has its standard summer sprinkling restrictions in effect now for all households that are on the municipal water system. Lawn and garden watering is allowed between 7 and 10 p.m. on odd-numbered calendar days for homes and businesses with odd-numbered street addresses and on even-numbered days for those with even-numbered street addresses.
This restriction does not apply to rural homeowners with private well systems, though they are also urged to reduce water use in case the water table starts to drop.
In The Nation municipality there is now a notice to residents in the village of Limoges and the Forest Park and Le Baron neighbourhoods, and the Ben Tardiff Mobile Home Park to refrain for washing cars, trucks and other vehicles and to limit or avoid lawn-watering using the municipal water supply system.
The provinces of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes are currently experiencing a level of drought that conservation authorities are saying has never been seen before.
Many areas are in level two drought warnings, but some areas, such as those along the Rideau River waterway, could be upgraded to a never-before-seen level three drought by this Friday, July 20 if there is no significant rainfall.
The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) plays a significant role in ensuring that Ontario's precious water resources can support the needs of Ontarians and support a healthy natural environment now and into the future.
The MNR Surface Water Monitoring Centre staff notify and confer with conservation authorities, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Foods and Rural Affairs, Municipal Affairs and housing and local MNR staff when streamflow and weather data indicate that an area may be in a level one, two or three water condition.
According to information on the MNR website, the Ontario Low Water Response plan ensures provincial preparedness, assists in co-ordination of provincial and local efforts and supports local response in the event of a drought.
A level one drought is classified as potential water supply problems and users are asked to voluntarily reduce their water consumption by 10 per cent.
A level two drought indicates there is a potential for major supply problems and users are asked to voluntarily conserve by an additional 10 per cent. In these cases, restrictions are typically placed on non-essential watering activities such as washing car, watering gardens and filling pools.
During a level three drought, water supply no longer meets demand and restrictions to conserve the maximum amount of water possible are put in place. In a level three drought, reservoirs and water power operations are modified and in some instances, water may be hauled in.