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Ottawa Valley residents frustrated by repeated flooding along the Ottawa River

As the Pembroke section of the Ottawa River levels off, new areas downstream saw levels continue to climb on Friday.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board (ORRPB) recorded Chats Lake at its highest level in 2023.

Terry Milks' cottage in Clarendon is currently surrounded by water. He says this year is comparable to 2017 levels.

"It just gradually got worse and worse, and today is the worst," Milks tells CTV News Ottawa.

"And hopefully that's the end of it; hopefully, it will start receding from here on."

After managing through the floods in 2017 and 2019, Milks has managed to keep his cottage dry inside, if only by a few inches.

"One thing about these kinds of situations is you learn what you did right and what you did wrong so you can do it better going forward."

But Milks is hoping for that introspection to take place with the bodies that regulate the Ottawa River.

In a statement, the ORRPB said flooding could never be fully stopped, but there are two ways to mitigate it: by using reservoirs to regulate volume and by providing early notice of high flows to authoritative bodies that send out messaging.

The ORRPB says there are 13 reservoirs across the Ottawa River basin. All 13 are between 85-110 per cent full. It says the reservoirs can hold up to 200-million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of 80,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

The ORRPB adds that adding another reservoir would not stop future flooding from taking place, as 60 per cent of the watershed remains uncontrolled. Building a new reservoir would also require expropriating hundreds of residents from their homes as all the best spots are already being used.

Whitewater Region Mayor Neil Nicholson says once this year's flooding emergency is over, more mitigation measures need to be addressed.

"We need to see if there's something we can do better," Nicholson tells CTV News.

"Whether that's at a lower level of government, higher level of government, we need to try and find a better solution." Top Stories

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