Ottawa River water levels are expected to rise in the coming days as a deluge of spring rain continues.
The levels had been beginning to ease before the rain started Thursday night, but officials fear that’s not going to hold. The forecast calls for rain to continue through Sunday, and a rainfall warning is in effect.
“They [the water levels] had been stabilizing in the last day, the last couple days, but the immediate concern, and it’s very worrying, is that this rainfall that we’re getting now … the levels will rise again,” said Manon Lalonde, an executive engineer for the Ottawa River Regulation Secretariat, which carries out the work ordered by the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board.
The board manages the Ottawa River basin.
“Saturday, Sunday, into Monday, the peaking time and peaking level, will depend really on the locations … and this will flood even more homes, so that’s the big worry,” Lalonde told CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning Friday.
“My heart goes out to people whose houses are underwater. I can’t imagine the stress and the hardship that they are going through right now. This is really terrible.”
This type of flooding seen before
The most affected areas are downstream of the Ottawa River’s junction with the Gatineau River, Lalonde said, essentially from the Hull Marina to Lac des Deux Montagnes in the Montreal area.
Affected areas include:
- Lac Deschênes and Britannia.
- Thurso, Que.
- Templeton and Pointe-Gatineau.
- Clarence-Rockland, Ont.
- Hawkesbury, Ont.
- Fort-Coulonge, Que.
The Ottawa River basin is managed with large reservoirs north of Gatineau, Lalonde said. While this level of flooding is unusual, it’s happened before.
“In a typical year these reservoirs, the way they’re regulated, it’s so effective at reducing floods downstream that most people don’t even realize that there is such…