The Water Security Agency has confirmed that lake and reservoir levels across the province are near normal.
The WSA released their Water Supply Conditions and Outlook report for July, and it showed that rainfall in June helped out places like Lake Diefenbaker here in south-central Saskatchewan.
“Lake Diefenbaker we’ve seen water levels as a result of that southern Alberta weather that we’ve recently seen, we’ve seen those levels come up pretty significantly, and we’re above where we were at this point last year,” says WSA Spokesperson, Sean Osmar.
Osmar added that the runoff from the mountain snowpack has contributed to high water levels as well.
“Flows are still coming in from that late alpine snowpack, we expect to have that level up to where we would really like to see it,” adds Osmar.
Osmar notes that as of Wednesday, Lake Diefenbaker’s water levels are closing in on 555 metres (1820 feet), with him expecting to hit that number by the end of July into early August. The average level for Lake Diefenbaker for this time of the year is around 556 metres (1824 feet).
The WSA does expect that alpine snowpack to keep trickling into the South Saskatchewan River, but not by much.
“There’s a little bit left still coming, at the higher elevations there still is some, which will kind of make its way here, but we wouldn’t expect to see a significant impact from any of that. The majority of the snowpack has melted in the mountains and made its way across southern Alberta and into Saskatchewan.”
In other parts of the province, Southwest Saskatchewan saw above-normal rainfall helping to continue to improve conditions from last year's extremely dry conditions; however, most of this region still has below-normal moisture levels.
Osmar adds that on the Qu'Appelle River System, nearly all the lakes are sitting near the top of their summer operating ranges, and with normal amounts of precipitation, all the lakes are expected to maintain a water level close to the targeted summer operating level. The exception is Round Lake, which is expected to remain low throughout the summer.
In the southeast corner of the province, lower than normal rainfall helped dry out areas that had become saturated, allowing flows to recede. The central grain belt also saw lower than normal precipitation resulting in drier than normal soil conditions there. Heavy rainfall localized in the upper portion of the Wascana Creek Basin generated high runoff resulting in some flooding of agricultural land in the Kronau Marsh area.
East-central and northeastern areas of the grain belt saw higher than normal precipitation leading to generally wet conditions.
He concluded by saying that northern Saskatchewan water levels are hit and miss depending on the region.
“Precipitation varied from well below normal in the far northwest to well above normal in southern and eastern areas. Thunderstorm activity resulted in precipitation varying locally as well. The additional runoff in the Churchill River Basin has resulted in flows being above normal across the basin.”