One of our key roles as a conservation authority is to maintain an effective flood warning system. Our Engineer has completed a new "flood control monitoring and operation plan" that includes an expanded gauging network, enhanced weather access and improved flood warning capability. Our Flood Warning Coordinator, who updates and reprints the "flood warning manual", maintains the flood warning system and coordinates these changes with adjacent Greater Toronto Area Conservation Authorities.
Coordination with adjacent Conservation Authorities is an ongoing activity. Our field staff are involved in the operation of water control structures. These staff members have the training to ensure that they are able to operate and maintain the enhanced stream flow gauge network and the flood control structures. Staff have the expertise to design and maintain the system, and to design, construct and implement additions to the system as required. During emergency situations, we are able to focus our knowledge and capabilities to ensure that member municipalities receive the most advanced warning possible.
The Conservation Authority can rely on expertise in the following areas in such situations:
- access to provincial and federal information systems including weather forecasts, flood advisories and warnings
- a flood watch network designed to track flood damage centres throughout the watershed
- access to an emergency communication system including telephones, facsimile, cell phones and radios (mobile and base)
- the emergency staff to carry out the above-mentioned activities
Types of Flood Messages
When flooding is possible or about to occur, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials, school boards, police, fire and the media. Flood messages are also posted in the Current Flood Status section of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority website.
Normal - Generally indicates low flow to base flow conditions. It should be noted that during Normal flow conditions, the inherent risk to personal safety associated with flowing water still exists.
Watershed Conditions Statement - A general notice of weather conditions that could pose a risk to personal safety or which have the potential to lead to flooding.
There are two variations of these:
Watershed Conditions Statement - Water Safety: High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.
Watershed Conditions Statement - Flood Outlook: Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.
Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.