Ottawa River water levels expected to drop 35 to 50 cm by Sunday in Ottawa-Gatineau

Water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to drop by more than 35 centimetres in the Ottawa-Gatineau area by the end of the weekend, but officials are urging residents living along the river to remain vigilant and keep sandbags in place.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board delivered good news for residents living along the Ottawa River on Wednesday afternoon, after heavy rain at the start of the May caused the river to flood properties and roads across the region.

Water levels have dropped 26 cm in Aylmer and approximately 50 cm in other areas of Gatineau, while in Ottawa, officials say levels and flows continue to decline “slowly in all locations.” 

“The spring runoff continues to decline in all locations of the watershed. Levels and flows along the main stem of the Ottawa River are expected to continue declining over the coming week,” the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board said in a statement.

“For the river reach between Gatineau (Hull Marina) and the Grenville-Hawkesbury area, levels are expected to decline between 35 and 50 cm over the next four days.”

The city of Ottawa says approximately 160 properties have set up sandbags to protect against rising water levels, while 17 properties are experiencing utility disruptions due to flooding.

The federal government has issued a temporary boating ban on the Ottawa River through the Ottawa-Gatineau area due to the high water levels.

Vessels are temporarily prohibited on the Ottawa River from the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge to Rockland, Ont. and from Carillon Dam to Pointe-Calumet, Que.

In Gatineau, the receding water levels have allowed the city to reopen some roads to vehicles of up to five tonnes, while rue Jacques-Cartier and rue Hurtubise will continue with safety restrictions for the time being. City staff are conducting weight-bearing capacity tests in preparation for allowing vehicles to use all roads that have been flooded.

A total of 781 people have registered with the city as flood victims, and 78 households are staying in hotels due to the flooding.

“Gatineau reminds shoreline property owners to remain vigilant and to keep protective barriers in place until further notice,” the city said, adding municipal crews are planning the collection of construction, demolition and renovation materials once the water levels recede.

The city of Gatineau is hosting an information session for flood victims on Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the centre sportif de Gatineau (850 boulevard de la Gappe).

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