Sask. expects below normal runoff

An updated spring runoff report in Saskatchewan continues to show significant portions of the grain belt are expected to see below normal runoff.

More snow or rain will change that situation, but for now conditions suggest a dry spring except for a few areas where runoff will be near normal. Those include a small pocket in the southwest south of the Cypress Hills, the Leader-Kindersley-Rosetown area and an area right around Saskatoon extending to the northeast.

The picture has changed somewhat since the February report as that area of Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Melfort and LaRonge moves into the “near normal” category thanks to higher snow pack.

Most of the far south, including Assiniboia, Estevan, Weyburn, Moose Jaw and Maple Creek, are all in the well-below-normal region.

The Water Security Agency, which released the updated map and conditions March 4, said conditions east of Highway 4 and south of Highway 1 are particularly dry with little runoff potential.

“While surface water supplies at larger reservoirs are expected to be met in 2021, users that rely on smaller reservoirs/dugouts may see shortages continue or emerge in 2021 if snow pack conditions do not improve,” the agency said.

“Low levels on recreational lakes may occur during the summer months, particularly in the Qu’Appelle Valley.”

In the north, where snow pack isn’t actually heavy, wet conditions last fall are pointing to higher-than-normal runoff potential. Flooding from runoff is considered low risk right now.

People are reminded that ice on water bodies could jam because ice movement is unpredictable, although the risk is lower this spring.

Another runoff report is expected in early April, depending on conditions.

Contact karen.briere@producer.com

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