ERCA, like all Conservation Authorities, assists with flood risk management. ERCA monitors stream flow, lake and river water levels, and ice conditions within our watershed. We assess soil saturation levels and provide flood warnings to local municipalities and agencies when necessary. We also prepare flood contingency plans and assist municipalities during the emergency response process, and access weather information at both the local and international levels to allow timely alerts to be issued.
Understanding Flood Messages
Factors could be dangerous, but flooding is not expected.
Watershed Conditions /
Early notice of flooding potential based on weather forecasts.
Potential for flooding within specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, EMS and landowners in flood-prone areas should be prepared.
Flooding is imminent or is occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.
Historically normal or low water level conditions.
The Essex Region Conservation Authority provides critical services at every stage of flood risk management.
How ERCA Serves You
Preparedness and Response
ERCA’s flood advisory plan and public education campaigns help prepare residents for flood events. We issue Flood Forecasts and Flood Warnings, communicate and advise on proper steps for before and during a flood event, and maintain data records to assist in these efforts.
ERCA participates in flood event documentation and analysis, and helps provide lessons-learned guidance to municipalities and the public.
Mitigation and Prevention
ERCA works to help you Limit and Reduce Exposure to Risk, by implementing ERCA’s Regulations and Policies, operating our flood forecasting and warning program, creating a flood protection strategy for vulnerable areas, and guiding remedial works projects.
We help you Understand and Document Risk through climate change science guidance, climate, geology, and watershed behaviour mapping, and mapping and identification of vulnerable area through surveying and GIS.
Causes of Flooding
The majority of flooding happens when excess water events occur in low-lying areas, such as much of the Essex region. Flooding events occur from a variety of overlapping factors.
Strong winds can push lake waters against the shoreline, preventing rivers and watercourses from draining. This is especially true of old, low-lying watercourses close to buildings and other structures, such as those that were built prior to ERCA’s regulations. Such activity also increases erosion. Impermeable construction (buildings, pavement, etc) prevents water from draining into the ground. This rapid runoff can overwhelm rivers, watercourses, and municipal drainage systems. View our Causes of Flooding infographic for detailed information.
When these events occur simultaneously or over an extended period of time, long-term flooding can occur.