The Ottawa River Regulating Committee works closely with provincial agencies. This is because the provincial agencies are responsible for issuing flood-related messages.
In Ontario, Conservation Authorities and District Offices of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry issue flood-related messages and information. This information is for municipalities, Indigenous communities and other key agencies involved in flood preparedness and response. This ministry plays a key role in disseminating information in Ontario. This is why it is an associate member on the Committee. More information on how hydrological forecasts are communicated in Ontario is available here.
Current flood-related messages for Ontario can be found online on the individual conservation authority websites and on the provincial flood webpage here.
In Québec, the Ministère de la Sécurité publique through the Centre des opérations gouvernementales and the Regional Directorates of Sécurité civile collaborate with municipalities to protect residents. They are informed of relevant hydrological forecasts by the Ottawa River Regulation Secretariat and member agencies of the Committee. More information on how hydrological forecasts are communicated in the province of Québec is available here.
Member agencies of the Committee also work closely with provincial authorities, sharing hydrological forecasts on the Lièvre River, Gatineau River, Madawaska River and upper Ottawa River in Abitibi-Timiskaming to evaluate whether there is a risk of exceeding flood level thresholds. They also share information about the control structures and facilities that they manage.
The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board uses its website (www.ottawariver.ca) as the main tool for communicating with the public and making hydrological information and forecasts available to them. To learn more about information available on the website, refer to the ‘Stay informed’.
The Committee issues a Press release when the spring freshet season is starting in the Ottawa River basin. The Committee also issues a Press release when it anticipates that conditions on the main stem of the Ottawa River could exceed significant flood levels. The main stem is between the Lake Timiskaming outlet and the Montreal region.
News bulletins may be posted on the website by the Committee to inform residents about basin conditions or specific river conditions on the main stem of the Ottawa River. One of the Committee members may also post bulletins for circumstances where there is no risk of exceeding flood level thresholds. This member may do this to inform residents when:
- abnormal river conditions are expected, for example, when lowering water above a dam temporarily for various reasons such as to protect aquatic species, and
- when special operations for a specific facility or river reach are planned, for example to install a safety boom at a generating station.
River Conditions Forecast
A general message describing current and forecast river conditions is posted weekly, on Tuesday, outside of the freshet period. This message is updated more frequently during periods of high flows or when river conditions are expected to change rapidly.
The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board uses its website (www.ottawariver.ca) as the main tool for making current river conditions and hydrological forecasts available to the public. Residents can also follow the Planning Board’s Twitter account to find out when new information is released on the website.
The following information is provided on the website.
- Current Conditions on the Ottawa River includes information on levels and flows at various key locations along the Ottawa River, its tributaries and at the principal reservoirs. This information is available throughout the year and is continually updated with the latest conditions.
- River Conditions Forecast is a general message posted weekly on the Home and Current Conditions webpages. This message is updated more frequently during periods of high flows or when river conditions are expected to change rapidly. The most recent messages remain available in the ‘Latest News’ section. Older messages can be found in the Archives section of ‘Latest News’ .
- A detailed four-day forecast including flow and water level values is also provided at five locations within the basin during the spring freshet period or other high-water events. Refer to Forecasts
- Press releases regarding changing conditions in the river are available on the Home webpage and in the Latest News
- Bulletins regarding the Planning Board activities, overview of basin conditions or special conditions in the river are available on the Home webpage and in the Latest News
A recorded message describes the river conditions forecast and provides current water levels at the following locations:
- Lake Timiskaming
- Lake Coulonge
- Chats Lake
- Ottawa (Britannia)
- Gatineau (Hull wharf)
Call the following number: 1-888-621-0059
Information about water levels and flows in the Lac des Deux-Montagnes and Montreal region is available on this website. This website is managed by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques du Québec. You can find current and forecast water levels and flows available for the Montreal area. Information about water levels and flows and how they compare with flood thresholds can be found on the Sécurité Publique Québec website ‘Surveillance de la crue des eaux’ (French only).