March 05, 2020

Spring Runoff Potential For Most Of The Province Moves To Below Average

Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the March spring runoff outlook.

Most of the province is facing a below normal spring runoff for 2020 as low winter snowfall levels are impacting conditions across Saskatchewan.

A band in southwestern Saskatchewan stretching from Moose Jaw through to Lucky Lake and Leader is facing the driest conditions with a well below normal runoff projected.  Some agricultural water supply issues could develop within drier areas during 2020 if lack of moisture persists through spring.

March and April can be the some of the wettest months, so the outlook may improve.  Only the far northwest and extreme southeast and southwest corners of the province are projected to have near or above normal runoffs, with small portions of the province expected to have a higher than normal runoff.

However, in these areas where above normal runoff is expected, flood flows are unlikely based on current conditions and normal conditions going forward.

Snowmelt runoff is influenced by fall soil moisture, storage conditions, winter precipitation accumulations and weather during the spring melt.  While much of the southern half of province entered the winter with good to excess moisture conditions, below average snowfall has decreased the runoff potential.

Water supplies from the province’s major reservoirs are expected to be adequate in 2020.  Desirable summer operating levels are also expected at most recreational lakes within the province in 2020.

The Qu’Appelle Valley is the exception with Last Mountain, Pasqua, Echo, and Crooked lakes likely to be lower than desirable.

The WSA will issue another forecast in early April if runoff is not yet underway.