A below to well-below spring runoff is forecast for most of southern Saskatchewan despite significant amounts of snow, according to the province’s Water Security Agency (WSA).
The WSA released its spring runoff report on Thursday and said conditions still vary across the province.
Below normal runoffs in the southwest could result in some water supply issues, including shortages and potentially water quality issues later in the year, the report said.
The exception in the south is areas east of Moose Jaw, where near-to-above normal runoff is possible.
In central regions, the WSA said above-to-well above runoffs are expected, however, the agency said flooding isn’t expected at this time.
The situation is different in the north, where there is a significant snowpack in the North Saskatchewan River basin.
The WSA said there is an elevated risk of a dynamic ice breakup event that could result in ice jamming and flooding similar to what occurred in 2020.
Most of Saskatchewan entered freeze-up in 2021 with drier than normal moisture conditions after hot and dry conditions persisted through most of the province during the year.
The WSA said that according to its mid-February snow assessment, water supplied from the province’s major reservoirs should continue to meet demand during 2022.
Agency officials said they remain optimistic that flows on the Saskatchewan river system and levels at Lake Diefenbaker will rebound this year due to an alpine snowpack that is generally well above normal.
The runoff forecast is based on normal weather conditions going forward and the WSA said any increased runoff potential will be reflected in the April report.