Ottawa RiverRegulationPlanning BoardCommission de planificationde la régularisationde la rivière des Outaouais

Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board

The Planning Board was established to ensure integrated management of the principal reservoirs of the Ottawa River Basin:

  • to minimize flood and drought impacts along the Ottawa River and its tributaries, particularly in the Montreal Region
  • while maintaining beneficial water uses in the basin.

Current Conditions Summary

Water levels in metres:

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River Conditions Forecast

Last Update: 2020-11-17 2:21 PM
Next Update: 2020-11-24 3:00 PM

Water levels and flows on the main stem of the Ottawa River are close to normal for this time of year. Levels are expected to remain fairly stable over the coming week.

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Special Feature

Why high water levels are common during fall on the Ottawa River

Because of reduced evapotranspiration and increased precipitation during the fall, water level increases are common on the Ottawa River.

In the fall, the soil capacity to absorb precipitation is less than in summer. This is because the vegetation, which has become dormant with trees having shed their leaves, is not intercepting rainfall or taking up the water contained in the soil. Such reduced evapotranspiration rates lead to rapid increases in water runoff to the river and increases in water levels.

Operationally, as reservoirs are already full at this time of the year, all excess precipitation results in increased river flows that must necessarily pass through the system as there is no available storage.  It should be noted that elevated water levels during the fall do not affect the ability to drawdown reservoirs over the winter period.  Also, they are not a predictor of high water levels in the spring as illustrated in the document below.

For more information about reservoirs drawdown, please refer to FAQ – Question F ‘Why is the water level on the Ottawa River not lowered sooner?’


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Latest News

Expecting a notable increase in water levels and flows due to significant rainfall in Abitibi-Timiskaming

Bulletins posted on 2020-10-23 by Ottawa River Regulating Committee

The Ottawa River Regulation Committee would like to advise residents that a notable increase in water levels and flows is

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Work postponed: temporary lowering of the level of the Rivière des Outaouais upstream of the Carillon hydropower facility

Bulletins posted on 2020-10-21 by Hydro Quebec

Please note that the bulletin issued by Hydro-Québec on October 21st was updated on October 27, 2020. Read the Press

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Important notice: Fall/winter water level adjustments

Bulletins posted on 2020-10-15 by Ontario Power Generation

Please be advised that Thanksgiving Monday marks the end of summer water level minimums for the Ottawa and Madawaska Rivers.

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2020-11-24 07:49:56