March 06, 2019

Spring Runoff Potential Varies Across Saskatchewan

Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released a spring runoff forecast for 2019.

The WSA is generally expecting below normal snowmelt runoff in the far north, near normal snowmelt runoff over central areas of the province, and below normal snowmelt runoff over much of southern Saskatchewan.

Above normal snowfall in February has increased the runoff potential for most areas of the province.  While the snowpack is now near normal over many areas of southern Saskatchewan, dry conditions in the summer and fall of 2018 will lower the runoff potential.

There is an area west of Prince Albert, over to Lloydminster and Cold Lake, where an above normal snowmelt runoff response is expected due to wetter conditions at freeze-up in 2018 and an above normal snowpack.  While above normal runoff is expected over this area, flooding conditions are not likely based on current conditions.

Well below normal snowmelt runoff is expected over an area extending from the upper end of Lake Diefenbaker east toward Leross.  This area was quite dry in 2018 and the snowpack is below normal.  Some agricultural water supply issues could be present within this area in 2019 if conditions do not improve.

The runoff potential could change as there is potentially six weeks of winter weather remaining.  However, based on current conditions, well above normal snowfall would be required in March to give rise to flooding concerns over most of the province.

Water supplies from the province’s major reservoirs are expected to be adequate in 2019.  Desirable summer operating levels are also expected at recreational lakes within the province in 2019.

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