Southern Sask. faces below normal spring runoff

Spring runoff is expected to be below normal across most of southern Saskatchewan this year.

The province’s Water Security Agency said in its preliminary spring runoff outlook for 2019 that conditions were dry last summer and fall and precipitation so far this winter has been below normal.

Below normal snowmelt runoff is also expected in northern Saskatchewan, but the northern agricultural region and southern boreal forest is expected to see near normal snowmelt runoff based on current conditions.

The agency said the spring runoff outlook could still change, but it would take well above average precipitation in February, March and April to produce an above average spring runoff in most areas.

As a result, agricultural water supply shortages are anticipated, similar to last year. These issues will likely intensify and expand across southern Saskatchewan, and municipalities and irrigators could face surface water supply problems if conditions remain dry into the summer months.

The agency said that unless conditions change significantly, it will aggressively store water during the snowmelt runoff period to ensure water supplies are adequate and lake levels are desirable for recreational use this year.

It plans to issue an updated forecast next month.

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