SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Fire Department has closed the public boat launch until further notice due to safety concerns with the increased water flow on the South Saskatchewan River.
Officials are also asking everyone to stay off the river.
“The Fire Department strongly discourages activity on or near the river while the flow rate remains strong,” said Assistant Fire Chief Morgan Hackl in a release.
“We know the weekend is expected to be hot, however we’re asking folks to please use common sense, respect nature and stay back from the fast flowing water of the South Saskatchewan.”
The Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) recently increased the outflow from the Gardiner Dam from 800 cubic metres-per-second (m3/s) to 1,000 c3/m.
The increased flow has raised levels on the river through Saskatoon by up to a foot.
“When the river is like this, it creates significant safety hazards for people and pets on the river – or along its banks – and for firefighters who may have to get in the river for a rescue,” said Hackl.
The WSA increased the outflow as a pro-active measure to lower the level in Lake Diefenbaker to allow for additional water storage.
Increased flows on the river are expected to last into June.