What is a watershed?

  • A watershed is defined as an area of land where all the surface water drains into the same place, whether it’s a creek, a stream, a river or an ocean. Therefore, all precipitation, such as rain or snow, that falls on a watershed ends up flowing to the same place.
  • Watershed boundaries are based on topographical or physical boundaries rather than community or political boundaries.
  • Watersheds include not only watercourses, but the entire land base draining into the watercourse.  Watersheds are separated by points of land (hills or slopes) at higher elevations than the surrounding lands. From these high points, water drains in different directions into distinct watersheds.
  • Watersheds can be very large, such as the Atlantic Ocean watershed, or can be divided into smaller and smaller sub-watersheds based on rivers and small streams. All the streams flowing into small rivers, larger rivers, and eventually into the ocean, form an interconnecting network of waterways.

watersheds  of Canada

  • This is our watershed. Note that the boundary lines have changed a bit since we were formed.

  • This older map of our watershed shows the names of some of our sub-watersheds.

watershed map - UPDATED

  • We all live in a watershed.
  • PEI is divided up into many different watersheds.

Watersheds of PEI

A variety of watershed groups work in PEI. Our neighbours are the Covehead/Brackley Bay, and Hillsborough River watershed groups. Here is a map of all the groups 2018_map_-_watershed_groups_on_pei

The Land Affects the Water

  • In PEI our watersheds are relatively small when compared to many other areas; complete river systems can be considered as one watershed for our purposes.
  • Since the water resources within each watershed are interconnected, we all have a stake in what happens in our watershed.
  • Not only does water run into the streams and rivers from the surface of a watershed, but water also filters through the soil. So what happens in the watershed’s land affects the groundwater too.
  • In cities, rainwater runs off roads, parking lots, and large buildings and into the storm water system. In rural areas, more water flows down through the soil and into the groundwater.

Historical watershed anecdotes

  • Since 1930 our watershed has the source of almost all municipal water for the City of Charlottetown.
  • In 1670, what is now the Hudson’s Bay Company was granted a monopoly over the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed, which covers millions of square kilometers! (This land grant is approximately the yellow area on watersheds of Canada map on this page).

We designed a brochure on this topic for our 2014 door-to-door campaign which is designed for doubled sided printing: What is a watershed?

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