Minister responsible for the Water Security Agency Ken Cheveldayoff released the March forecast and outlook on spring runoff. The forecast ranges from well above normal near Prince Albert in the central portion of the province to below normal in south west.
“Central Saskatchewan, from Saskatoon and North Battleford to Prince Albert and Melfort, is expected to see an above normal to well above normal runoff in certain areas,” Cheveldayoff said. “We continue to monitor the situation and the Water Security Agency will be doing targeted snow surveys to verify the amount of snow in these regions.”
Peak flows on the Saskatchewan River system are largely determined by alpine snow accumulation and spring/early summer rainfall in the mountains. If the normal amount of precipitation is received, flows are expected to be above normal for the North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan Rivers, but not cause flooding. Ice jams during the spring runoff on any river system can cause local flooding regardless of the forecasted flow.
Spring runoff depends on a number of factors: moisture conditions from the fall; snow accumulation from the winter; the rate of melt in the spring; and the amount of rainfall during the runoff. Above normal precipitation prior to spring runoff and/or a fast melt could result in higher flows and significantly alter the forecast.
The Water Security Agency will continue to provide updates as the spring runoff progresses. The complete forecast including projected lake levels and stream flows is available at www.wsask.ca.
The Water Security Agency was created to lead implementation of the 25 Year Saskatchewan Water Security Plan. It will improve water management capacity and service to individuals, businesses and communities across Saskatchewan. The Agency brings together all of the major responsibilities related to water quality and quantity.