The South Saskatchewan River levels are set to decrease in the next week, but a warning from the Water Security Agency (WSA) says it’s not safe yet.
“These water levels we’re at right now are still very high and they pose a risk to people on the river,” WSA spokesperson Patrick Boyle said Friday.
River levels near Saskatoon are well above normal for this time of year, at 420 cubic metres per second (m3/s) rather than 150 m3/s.
“We’re making adjustments today (Friday), to take those levels down to about 250 m3/s by Aug. 2. That will still be above normal,” Boyle added.
The flow peaked from July 7 to 17 at 720 m3/s, according to the WSA.
While the current 420 m3/s is down comparatively, it’s still dangerous.
This is an important reminder as people head to rural beaches.
The Meewasin Valley Authority (MVA) re-opened access to Paradise Beach, Poplar Bluffs and Fred Heal Canoe Launch this week.
“The flow has increased and so it picks up sand and deposits it downstream. It could disturb a sandbar or create a new one, so the edge of a place that seemed safe before suddenly drops-off and you’re in deep fast-moving water,” said Mike Velonas, MVA planning and conservation manager.
“Be cognizant of the fact that you’re entering into an unpredictable and really fast water body.”
Novice paddlers can safely head out when the water is less than 250 m3/s, according to the Saskatoon Canoe Club website.
“It’s not the time for novice people to be trying kayaking or canoeing,” Boyle said.
According to the WSA, beginners can hit the water after Aug. 2. Something to look forward to over the long weekend.