Water Supply Conditions and Outlook
May 18, 2016 - Water supply conditions across Saskatchewan are generally adequate with reservoir and ground water levels generally above average because of several consecutive years of above average precipitation. The Weyburn area is the exception where some surface water shortages are occurring.
Spring snowmelt was generally a month early in Saskatchewan in 2016, the southern portion of the province had little or no snowmelt runoff in 2016. Spring rainfall was well below normal across portions of southern Saskatchewan until a precipitation event from May 9 to 11 helped increase moisture conditions over most of southern Saskatchewan. Around Highway 16 and north, snowmelt runoff was near normal in 2016 but rainfall since then has been below normal. In east central Saskatchewan, snow accumulations were above normal and a later more rapid melt resulted in above normal runoff in this area.
Although many reservoirs are not completely full, water supplies are generally expected to be adequate in 2016.
Without significant June rains, flows are expected to be below normal on the Saskatchewan River Basin in 2016 as the alpine snowpack was generally below normal and irrigation diversions in southern Alberta have been above normal thus far. All water supply needs are expected to be met on the South Saskatchewan River in 2016 although intakes may need to me lowered to adapt to lower water levels at Lake Diefenbaker and on the South Saskatchewan River.
Inflows to the reservoirs in the Souris Basin were well below normal during spring runoff. While the reservoirs are not expected to fill in 2016, all water supply needs will be met.
All lakes within the Qu’Appelle system are expected to be within their desirable summer operating ranges in 2016 despite below normal snowmelt runoff, aside from Round Lake which will be below the desirable range as the control structure will not be operated due to federal land issues with the local First Nation.
The only current area of concern in terms of water supply is in the Weyburn region. Dry conditions in 2015 along with little to no snowmelt runoff in 2016 resulted in some surface water supplies being stressed in the area. There has been a strong demand for the Water Security Agency’s pumping equipment program in this area by individuals seeking to increase the security of their supply.
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Water Supply Conditions and Outlook - May 2016