The Water Security Agency says the water level on Lake Diefenbaker has been on the rise over the last week after a massive southern Alberta rainstorm made its way into the lake.
The WSA predicted the Alberta rain would increase levels by around two metres, which WSA Spokesperson, Patrick Boyle says is still on track.
“The lake is up to about 552.8 metres as of yesterday (June 27), and it’s still gaining and we think it’s going to keep gaining and rising until the end of July,” says Boyle. “Right now, we think it’s going to reach 553.4 metres by July 1, which is about .1 metres higher than the summer level.”
In combination with the Alberta rain, Boyle notes the late winter snowpack melt will contribute to the lake rising even more by August up to 555 metres. Peak inflows were also seen over the last week at 1100 cubic metres per second, which is well above normal for this time of the year.
Boyle adds that even though we're only into the end of June, Lake Diefenbaker’s current level has exceeded last year’s, and will continue to increase.
“We actually think in the month of August here, we’re not going to reach our full supply level, but it’s going to remain just below what our normal levels are for the summer. We’re going to make some gains back in July and August on the reservoir and the level, they’re certainly trending up.”
With the continuous water level increase on the South Saskatchewan River, the Ministry of Highways was able to open the Riverhurst Ferry, the week prior to June 27th after being beached at the beginning of the season.
Boyle reminds residents living along the South Saskatchewan River into the lake, that with the expected water level increase, flooding may occur.
“One of the biggest things there for residents is any infrastructure that you do have, right now the lake level in the area is fairly low so irrigators and pump intakes, they’re going to be farther in the water and you’ll have to move those back as that water comes in.”
The agency adds that they have been in contact with area residents below and above the lake to advise them of higher flows coming on both sides.
While widespread flooding in Saskatchewan is not predicted at this time, citizens facing flooding issues are encouraged to look into WSA's Emergency Flood Damage Reduction Program (EFDRP).
EFDRP provides assistance to implement emergency flood protection measures for communities, rural municipalities, businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals with rural yard sites, country residences and cottages to prevent damage from imminent risk of flooding. Details of the program can be found here.
WSA will continue to monitor conditions and provide updates as the situation develops.