Flooding is the leading cause of public emergency in Ontario.

Flood management is a shared responsibility in Ontario. Conservation Authorities, including NBMCA, are on the front lines of the Provincial Flood Forecasting and Warning program.

Flooding can happen at any time.  It occurs in known floodplains when there has been steady, intense rainfall or snowmelt over a short period of time. Heavy rains, snowmelt, spring break up and ice jams, wind-related storm surges, or the failure of dams can all cause flooding.

NBMCA and our 10 member municipalities prepare for, track and manage local flooding. Advance warning enables municipalities to put emergency plans into operation, evacuate communities if necessary, and secure property in areas that are more likely to flood.

Monitoring weather and flood conditions is a shared responsibility of Conservation Authorities, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, and Environment Canada. When flooding is possible or about to occur, NBMCA issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials, the media and the public through our website and social media.  Municipalities then take action to warn local residents.

Conservation Authorities’ responsibilities around flood management:

  • Undertake floodplain mapping, modelling, and monitoring streamflow, rainfall and snowpacks
  • Regulate development in flood-prone areas in cooperation with municipalities and the Province
  • Provide planning support & advice to municipalities to minimize flood impacts and issue warnings
  • Acquire important floodplain lands and flood vulnerable structure.

NBMCA brings added protection and benefits through watershed planning, watershed stewardship/natural heritage system management, stormwater management, low impact development, stewardship, monitoring and other programs.

Flood Watch Status & Terminology

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry (MNRF) and Ontario's Conservation Authorities issue flood messaging using specific criteria and terminology.  This provides consistency across the province and incorporates the familiar wording used by weather agencies such as Environment Canada and the Weather Network.  

At any time of the year, when there is flooding, NBMCA can issue three levels of messages for the watershed within its jurisdiction:

  • Water Conditions Statement (Flooding Outlook or Water Safety)
  • Flood Watch
  • Flood Warning

For more information on Flood Watch Status & Terminology, visit here.