Water Security Agency

Water Security Agency Snow Equivalency Surveys

Each year, around mid-February, the Water Security Agency (WSA) undertakes snow water equivalent sampling to help create a complete picture of the spring runoff potential for Saskatchewan.

The Water Security Agency manages the province’s water supply year-round, and that’s why every February, as part of our regular monitoring, WSA personnel gather snowpack data to help fill in other data gathered from other monitoring sites. WSA staff visit hundreds of sites each February, carrying out snow surveys to help forecast the runoff potential and providing information on water supply, flood risks and drought potential. Much of Saskatchewan’s runoff comes from snowmelt, so these surveys are a key piece of information for forecasters.

As part of the survey, WSA staff collect a column of snowpack using a graduated tube, weigh the samples and then calculate the average snow-to-water equivalency for that area. Surveys from across the province contribute to the runoff potential map released every spring. Gathering and publishing this information helps municipalities, producers, industry and other users plan ahead. This annual process is one of the many ways WSA manages Saskatchewan’s water resources to improve our quality of life every day.