As snow melts in the spring and during times of significant rainfall, large bodies of water such as rivers may have stronger than usual currents. The City reminds residents to stay away from all bodies of water. Parents should ensure their children and pets stay a safe distance from any water's edge. Do not attempt to rescue people or animals should they fall into a river. Call 9-1-1 immediately. If you require sandbags the City of Ottawa provides them at a number of locations.
Will There Be Flooding in Your Area?
The potential for flooding does exist during the spring. Large amounts of rain may also cause flooding at any time. Flooding in your area will depend on your proximity to waterways and floodplains. The City is working with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the South Nation Conservation Authority, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources - who are responsible for monitoring water levels in our region. Check their Web sites for updates and advisories on potential river flooding.
Basement Flooding and Sewers
Help prevent basement flooding and reduce the negative effects of flood damage by making a few simple changes around your home. Plan ahead, educate yourself and take some early precautions to prevent water from getting into your home. Learn about sewer backups and basement flooding, from general questions to what to do and steps to follow in the case of a basement flood or your sewer backs up.
Emergency Preparedness Tips
The best protection in any emergency is knowing what to do. Are you ready?
If a flood is forecast or imminent in your neighbourhood.
- Move important papers/documents, electrical appliances and other important belongings to floors above ground level
- Listen to the radio to find out what areas are affected, what roads are safe, where to go and what to do if you are asked to leave your home
- Keep your cell phone charged and your gas tank full in case you are asked to leave your home
- Keep your emergency kit close at hand, in a portable container such as a duffle bag, backpack, or suitcase with wheels
- If you are asked to evacuate take your emergency kit with you, follow routes specified by officials and make arrangements for pets.
- Check on others in your neighbourhood who may be more vulnerable and need extra help or support
- Monitor your local radio and television stations for updated news and weather information.
City information: call 3-1-1
For Life Threatening Emergencies: call 9-1-1
Additional Safety Issues
Ravines and Escarpments
If you live near ravines or escarpments, or if you are out in these types of areas, please be vigilant about any signs of instability and report any observed conditions to 3-1-1.
Wading Pools in City Parks
Keep children away from wading pools during spring thaw. Heavy rain falls, higher water levels and debris from spring thaw may cause drainage issues in wading pools. This may result in water back-ups and the accumulation of surface water which could pose a risk of drowning.
As snow melts, your home can be impacted by the spring runoff. Improper catch basin and roadway drainage as well as excess water in backyards can lead to localized flooding and sewer back ups. Road and pathway closures due to flooding will be updated on the website daily.
Assist with roadway drainage by ensuring that catch basins and drains (grates close to the curb) near your home are open and free of snow and ice. It’s normal for water to pool around a catch basin in wet weather. Roads are designed to drain based on the sewer capacity. Call 3-1-1 if you notice water building up on roads and the City will dispatch crews to investigate. Do not open sewer manhole covers (located near the middle of the street) to drain roadways as this will likely cause sewer back ups.
Rivers and Other Bodies of Water
If you live by a river or body of water with rising water levels, take appropriate safety measures. This includes clearing snow away from your foundation, sandbagging areas vulnerable to floods, and ensuring your sump pump is working properly. If you notice water levels rising around your home, please call 3-1-1.
Wells and Septic Systems
Water wells and septic systems should be graded to avoid ponding of water. In the event of flooding, the safety and operation of water wells and septic systems can be compromised. Learn about water wells and the importance of Flooding and Your Health and what to do if your well water becomes contaminated. Discover how to prevent contamination.
How can you help?
The City is currently not seeking volunteers but is advising residents who want to help to make sure friends and family - particularly children, seniors and people with disabilities - are also prepared for any potential flooding.