Below-normal runoff expected this spring

By Geoff Smith
February 9, 2016 - 5:18pm Updated: February 10, 2016 - 9:46am

It’s too early to say for sure, but the Water Security Agency (WSA) says western Saskatchewan can expect below normal runoff this spring.

In fact, the prediction applies to most of the province. The only exception is in the east-central region, where there was extra water in the fall.

“I think we went into the winter, probably, a little bit drier than some areas in the province,” Herb Cox, provincial environment minister and MLA for the Battlefords, said. He also said the amount of snow pack is a factor.

“And of course, the third factor is depending on the timing of the melt, and what rains we get during the melt. And those are the things we can’t predict at this point in time,” Cox said.

“We quite often get a lot of snow in February and March, and sometimes even into April.”

At the same time, Cox doesn’t believe we’re headed for drought conditions, although he reiterated that it’s too soon be sure.

“The snow pack is important, of course, in the agricultural industry and we’re always aware of their concerns,” he said. “But one good rain late in April, early in May can certainly turn things around.”

Low moisture levels could lead to another bad year for fires, and the government is monitoring the situation. Cox said he’s been told by northern leaders the snow pack is even less in those areas.

Forecasts for precipitation suggest it will be at near-normal levels over the next three months though the agency cautioned long-term forecasts are difficult to rely on.

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On Twitter: @smithco

 

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