Persistent dry conditions have caused water levels to drop to less than one-third of normal flows in Whitemans Creek.
The Grand River Conservation Authority says the unusually low water levels are one factor in the Ontario Water Directors Committee announcing the consideration of a possible Level 3 low water declaration, according to a media release issued by the GRCA on Thursday.
The committee has the authority to order mandatory water conservation measures, including placing controls on the amount or timing of withdrawals from the creek.
Water from Whitemans Creek is used for irrigation by nearby producers of fruits, vegetables, tobacco and other crops. There are 130 permits issued to take water in the area of Whitemans Creek.
“Some crops are close to dying off,” said Dave Schultz, GRCA manager of communications. “They need water.”
A Level 3 declaration has never been issued in Ontario.
Schultz said the declaration will be issued if there is the potential for significant harm to the ecosystem.
Before a Level 3 declaration is issued, the Grand River Low Water Response Team would have to assemble information and file a report to the Ontario Water Directors Committee showing the potential for significant social, environmental and economic impacts from a continuing low water situation.