Why are water levels in Lake Ontario so high?
Extreme wet weather in April resulted in high water levels across the Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River system. Rainfall was well above normal across the entire basin, with some areas receiving at least twice their average amounts since the start of the month. The rain, coupled with snowmelt in northern parts of the system, resulted in increased stream flows, rising water levels and flooding.
The water level of Lake Ontario is governed by the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board which balances water levels upstream and downstream to minimize flooding and erosion. Water is currently being released from Lake Ontario to its maximum capacity however it cannot be increased without causing more flooding in Montreal and further into Quebec. As the water is slowly released, lake levels should stabilize and gradually recede.
When will the water levels return to normal?
There is no way to accurately predict exactly when water levels will recede but they are expected to remain high throughout the summer and likely won’t return to normal levels until October at the earliest.
The water in the parks has receded so why can’t I get a permit to hold an event?
Although some water has receded, any weather event that brings on easterly winds and heavy rainfall will likely cause these areas to flood again. A park that is dry one day could be covered in water the next. There are also areas that have been impacted by shoreline erosion creating significant safety risks for the public.
When will the parks be reopened?
Staff from the Parks and Open Space department are inspecting the lakefront parks twice daily to assess their conditions. As soon as it is safe to do so, the parks will be reopened to the public.
When will the town fix the damages to public spaces caused by the flooding?
Staff have conducted a preliminary inspection of the shoreline and identified some damage however the full extent will not be known until the water levels recede. It is very likely that some damage is not visible at this time and won’t be identified and assessed until conditions improve enough for a coastal engineer to conduct a full inspection of all public lands along the shoreline. Decisions regarding the timing of repairs will be based on the results of this inspection.
If my home or property is damaged as a result of flooding will the town help pay for repair costs?
The town does not provide financial assistance for damages to private property caused by flooding. Homeowners, tenants, small owner-operated businesses, farmers, and not-for-profit organizations may be eligible to apply for financial assistance through Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians. The program does not provide assistance for costs covered by insurance.
Where can I get current information about water levels or possible flooding?
The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) provides information and updates on water levels in Lake Ontario. Call 905-544-5610 to hear an automated message that provides the present water levels in metres followed by the high and low water levels recorded during the previous 12 hours.
Conservation Halton continuously monitors weather and flood conditions in the watershed and will issue a warning when flooding is possible or about to occur. The Town of Oakville posts this information on oakville.ca and shares it on social media. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.