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City's Spring Freshet Task Force Stands Down, Returns to Normal Operations

As of May 15, 2024, Public Works is concluding its operations related to the spring freshet. As a result, the Public Works Freshet Task Force is standing down and returning to normal operations.


File photo from 2023 spring flooding in West Carleton

The Public Works Freshet Task Force has actively monitored conditions throughout this year’s freshet. Relying on flood mapping and experience, we understand that residents are affected at differing water elevations. Due to the uncertainty of how significant flooding may become, people require time to prepare if sandbags are to be used for flood protection in any year. In 2024, the Ottawa River met and slightly exceeded the 1:2 level (a 50% chance of occurring in any given year) in most areas of Ottawa between Vydon Acres and Cumberland. The unknown impact of additional precipitation during the spring freshet requires ongoing vigilance by residents and city operations between the end of February and until conditions stabilize.


The following is a summary of Task Force actions taken in 2024:


• Early monitoring of snow, water and forecasts began in January


• The Freshet Task Force was established on February 26 and met 13 times to plan and initiate actions


• Task Force members met with Ottawa Power Generation, the three local conservation authorities (Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and South Nation Conservation Authority), Parks Canada, the Ottawa River Regulation Secretariat, and other external groups as part of annual preparations


• Information was made available to residents and Councillors through the flood page on ottawa.ca, and the City’s Flood 2024 group Facebook page.


• Nine sandbag filling stations were deployed in community-based locations of known early impact for early access by residents. Eight filling stations were deployed between West Carleton, North Gower, Cumberland, and one made available at the downtown Hurdman Works Yard.


Look Ahead


As we close operations for this year, the following actions are being taken. Sandbag filling locations are being decommissioned this week. Assets will be returned to inventory for use in future freshets, or for seasonal operations where appropriate. The City will continue to maintain an inventory of materials at the former Woodlawn Works Yard location for use in future years.


Although the 2024 freshet is behind us, we will continue to work with internal and external partners including local conservation authorities to improve our processes and operational responses for future events.


Even in a year characterized by minor impacts, we will take time to assess our actions and strategies.


Alain Gonthier

General Manager

Public Works Department

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